In arguably the least surprising news of this election cycle, a new survey has found that sexism is a major predictor of support for Donald Trump.
In a recent column in The Washington Post, a team of three political scientists with the University of Michigan described a nationally-representative survey they conducted of 700 U.S. citizens in an attempt to determine how much hostility toward women drives support for Trump.
Participants were asked whether they agree with statements like, “Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist,” or “Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for equality.” As Vox reports, they were also asked whether they agree that “Feminists are not actually seeking for women to have more power than men” or that “Feminists are making entirely reasonable demands of men.”
Unsurprisingly, the researchers found a strong and significant link between sexism and support for Trump. The more sexist respondents were, the more likely they were to support Trump. (The survey was conducted before the infamous “grab them by the pussy” tapes were made public, and before a string of women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault.)
In fact, the researchers found that sexism was as much a driver of support for Trump as ethnocentrism (i.e., racism) and an even greater predictor of support for him than authoritarianism (a personality type that, among other things, favors hierarchy and strong leadership).
As Vox reported, a separate August survey by the same team of researchers measured the effects of “benevolent,” old-school sexism on support for Trump ― the kind of sexism rooted in the idea that women are inherently pure, for example, and that they should be provided for. Those findings were very different.
“The hostile sexism is highly correlated, but the benevolent sexism really is not,” Wayne told Vox.
So it’s not just that people who have more traditional values tend to support Trump; it’s people who have hostile feelings toward women and toward feminism. Add in the fact that the researchers also found that feelings of anger only act to make sexism more of a catalyst of support for Trump, and you’ve got a perfect storm of misogyny-motivated voting.
“The anger so visible in this emotionally charged campaign may be helping to make sexism more of a political force,” the researchers wrote.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.