Hillary Clinton stopped referring to herself as the potential “youngest woman president” during campaign stump speeches after polling showed that it was not helping with voters and donors.
The decision to scrub her speeches of the gender reference — which was reported by the Associated Press — highlights the longstanding critique of the former first lady and her husband Bill that they rely heavily on results from political polls and focus groups before making the slightest political decision.
In the 1990s, Bill Clinton reportedly poll tested family vacation spots.
Clinton dropped the reference after Emily’s List, a group that supports pro-abortion Democratic women and is backing Hillary, provided the campaign with a report showing that it did not help the former secretary of state.
Clinton has stopped explicitly mentioning her role in history and joking about being the “youngest woman president.” That’s by design: Those kinds of direct appeals weren’t working with voters.
“De-emphasize the ‘first’ talk,” advised a research report done by Emily’s List. “They already know she’d be the first woman president,” the report said of donors, “but we don’t get anything by reminding them.”
Clinton has focused heavily on gender during the campaign. Besides touting her own positions on issues seen as important to women, she has sought to portray her presumptive general election challenger, Donald Trump, as a misogynist.
But while the strategy has worked to increase Trump’s unfavorable ratings with women, it could potentially backfire if Clinton’s focus on gender ends up alienating men.
Two national polls out this weekend suggest that that may be occurring. A Washington Post/ABC News poll has Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent. Trump has a larger margin of support with men than Clinton does among women in that poll.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the opposite. Clinton leads Trump 46 to 43 in that poll. She leads Trump 51 to 38 among women. Trump leads Clinton 49 to 40 among men.