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Republicans confront a significant gender gap ahead of midterm elections

This year's gender gap may be the biggest ever seen in the American electorate.
A woman places her vote into the ballot box on March 5, 2016 in Bowling Green, Ky. (Photo by Austin Anthony/Daily News/AP)
A woman places her vote into the ballot box on March 5, 2016 in Bowling Green, Ky.

When the latest Quinnipiac poll asked respondents whether Donald Trump is mentally stable or not, the president didn't fare especially well: only 48% of Americans said yes. But the gender breakdown pointed to an interesting result: while a narrow majority of men said they consider Trump mentally stable, 50% of women said the opposite.

The result was emblematic of the significant gender gap Republicans are confronting this year. Indeed, the same Quinnipiac poll showed the president with a weak 38% approval rating, but Trump fared even worse among women, with whom he has 34% support.

The new CNN poll, released yesterday, offered even more dramatic results.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?"Men: 42% approve, 51% disapproveWomen: 29% approve, 65% disapprove

That's not a typo.

Of course, the president isn't literally on the ballot this year, but that doesn't mean the news for congressional Republicans is much better. A recent Quinnipiac poll on the generic congressional ballot found women preferring Democratic candidates to GOP candidates by a whopping 25-point margin -- far larger than in other recent midterm election cycles.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis published last month made the case that voters may very well see a "record breaking" gender gap this fall, exceeding the midterm results in 1994.

Of course, the midterms are still two months away -- Election Day is exactly eight weeks from today -- and we may yet see public attitudes shift between now and then. But that's not necessarily good news for Republicans: if the Senate's GOP majority votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a conservative jurist who's very likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the gender gap may yet get bigger.