News World US Election: The two groups of Trump voters losing faith in the president

US Election: The two groups of Trump voters losing faith in the president

Donald Trump's charm is wearing off on women and the elderly, say political analysts. Photo: Getty/TND
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The countdown is on for US President Donald Trump to charm Americans and turn around his approval ratings before the federal election on November 3.

But two groups of once-loyal Trump supporters are growing increasingly weary of his old tricks: Women and seniors.

And their “Trump fatigue” is being reflected in polling.

It comes after the president faced criticism on Monday (local time) for claiming on a phone call with campaign staff that people were tired of hearing about the coronavirus – which has killed more than 215,000 Americans.

He also came under fire for slamming top health official Dr Anthony Fauci as a “disaster” who has been around for “500 years”.

While these sorts of brash comments were initially welcomed by Trump supporters in 2016, it’s possible some have lost their sense of humour amid a soaring pandemic death toll.

The final presidential debate with Democrat leader Joe Biden will take place on Thursday.

“(White) women, please like me”

“Suburban women, will you please like me?” Mr Trump said at a recent rally in Pennsylvania, where Mr Biden is beating him by a polling average of 6.8 points.

“Please. I saved your damn neighbourhood, okay?”

Dr David Smith, a lecturer in American politics and foreign policy at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney said, for many women, it’s too late for Trump to impress.

And, he said, the president’s track record of sexualising and degrading women is only one part of the story.

Thousands of Americans protested in women’s marches last week, with many warning against voting for President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty

“Donald Trump has always conflated ‘women’ with ‘white women’ when it comes to electoral support,” Dr Smith said.

“In recent weeks, he has constantly been saying that suburban women should support him because he has changed – or tried to change – the rules around suburban planning to keep low income housing out.

“That’s a very racially coded appeal. He’s basically saying white suburban women should be afraid of low income people, which is usually coded as Black or Latino.”

Dr Smith said this attempt to stoke racial fears will appeal to Mr Trump’s base, but it probably won’t work with undecided voters.

“I think it’s possible that it’s really wearing thin,” he said. “Back in 2016, he was a novelty. That kind of behaviour was seen as ‘Oh he’s rough around the edges, he’s an entertainer, that’s who he is’.

“After four years, people are expecting something a bit more presidential from Trump and they haven’t seen it.”

Professor Wesley Widmaier, an American politics expert at the Australian National University, said it was likely many women who voted for Mr Trump in 2016 told themselves he would settle into the role and tone down the sexism.

But that hasn’t happened.

“It’s very hard in the context of all his misogynistic and incendiary language to keep saying that,” Professor Widmaier said.

Seniors losing faith

Mr Trump’s consistent downplaying of COVID-19 isn’t doing him any favours with seniors – the group most likely to die from the virus, Dr Smith said.

“In some places like Florida, where 25 per cent of the population are senior citizens, the polls have moved in conjunction with COVID infection rates,” he said.

“Trump fell way down in the polls over the summer when it was spiking in in Florida, then he climbed back up as infections receded, and now he seems to be falling back again.”

Professor Widmaier agreed that COVID would have likely rattled the elderly’s faith in the president.

“Given (Mr Trump) won by a razor thin margin in 2016, if a decent chunk of women and the elderly are pulled away, that’s bad news for him,” he said.

“A reasonable size of them changing sides this time could really make a difference.”