Congresswoman: Trump Can Still Win Over Women Voters

Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 9:43 PM

A new Gallup tracking survey out Friday revealed seventy % of women nationwide had a negative opinion of Trump.

Congresswoman: Trump Can Still Win Over Women Voters

Donald Trump says he loves women — but polls increasingly indicate they don't like him back.

A new Gallup tracking survey out Friday revealed seventy % of women nationwide had a negative opinion of Trump. He splits Republican women in that same survey, with half each viewing him positively and negatively.

But NC Rep. Renee Ellmers, the first congresswoman to endorse the GOP frontrunner, is confident Trump can still appeal to women, if he sticks to what he knows.

"Women wish to look someone who's a problem-solver and who's solutions-oriented," she said in a phone interview on Wednesday. "I don't think he needs to modify his message for women…because every issue is a women's issue."

Ellmers should know — she'south made GOP outreach to women a top priority during her time in Congress, serving as one of the chairwomen of the Republican Women'south Policy Committee and counseling other members of her party on how to communicate with female voters.

The GOP has long faced challenges in wooing female voters — an 11-point advantage with women helped drive Obama to a win over GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in two thousand-twelfth, and the RNC emphasized outreach to female voters as a key priority in its postmortem report on the election.

And Trump, some Republicans worry, could exacerbate that deficit if he becomes the nominee because of a long string of controversial comments he'south made about women, culminating this week in remarks he made at an MSNBC town corridor initially expressing support for punishing women who get abortions if the procedure is outlawed.

His remarks sparked a firestorm of criticism and Trump quickly walked that stance back, issuing a statement within hours saying the abortionist would be held legally responsible, not the woman, who "is a victim in this case."

Ellmers' initial conversation with NBC News took space on Wednesday, before the latest controversy developed. But in an exclusive statement issued after Trump made his comments on abortion, the congresswoman distanced herself from the remarks.

"As a mother and someone who's a one hundred % pro-life, I've consistently fought to ensure the safety of the mother and the unborn," she said. "It has always been the goal within the pro-life community to finish abortion altogether, but it'south equally necessary that the focus stay on the woman and her child. Throughout this discussion, we necessity to be focused on compassionate outcomes as opposed to punishment."

The abortion controversy came just days after Trump drew flack for threatening opponent Ted Cruz'south wife, Heidi, over Twitter, sparking a feud between the two that carried over into the weekend with the release of a National Enquirer report that alleged Cruz had multiple affairs.

On Wednesday, Ellmers said both Cruz and Trump should leave families out of politics.

"I think that both of them necessity to walk far from any of those kinds of discussions. I personally perceive that families should be off-limits," she said.

And she acknowledged that his controversial comments are "certainly…something that women are going to consider" when evaluating Trump — and suggested Trump might wish to look what he says.

"There are many women who are undecided out there and he'll have to work to gain their support. I'd be concerned about what I say — but I wouldn't modify my message," Ellmers said.

Still, she insisted that his strength on the issues would trump Trump'south rhetoric.

"Women are seeing the threat of ISIS and terrorism, and the fact we're not fixing healthcare the way we should, and that the economy is still struggling," she said. "Where some of these issues would've been a distraction in a race, I don't think they necessarily are now."

Ellmers readily admits Trump wasn't her first choice — she previously expressed support for OH Gov. John Kasich. But she came around to him, she said, after talking with men and women in her district and realizing that Trump enjoyed powerful support back home, where he won the state'south GOP primary with more than forty % of the vote.

From those conversations, she found that "people really perceive love [Trump] can relate to and understands their difficulties." And women in specific appreciated that Trump wanted to go to WA and uproot the "good elderly boy network" that pervades Washington.

"Women are tired of business as usual, the excellent elderly boy network. They're looking for someone who hasn't had experience in politics to arrive in and shake things up."

Ellmers told him much of this during his meeting on Capitol Hill with lawmakers and other WA insiders latest week, emphasizing, she said, that "women are fifty-three % of the vote" and telling Trump that she believes they'll be key to electing the following president. And she came far from the meeting surprised.

"I had never met him before. I found him to be very personable and very engaging, and I think the more he shows that personality in a debate situation or as he'south out campaigning, it'll be favourable to him," she said.

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