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While Hillary Clinton won women’s votes overall, most white women — 52 percent — voted for Donald Trump, according to exit polls from the 2016 election. And 61 percent of white women without a college degree backed the president.

Source: 2016 election’s exit polls
Source: 2016 election’s exit polls

This move was consistent with previous elections. White women have backed Republicans for president more than they have Democrats.

Most white women — 56 percent — voted for Romney in 2012. And most white women without degrees backed the GOP presidential nominee in every presidential election since 2000.

And while Trump didn’t win white college-educated women, the fact that more than 44 percent voted for him was something many liberal white women found problematic.

White women, overall

Despite 47 percent approving of Trump in an April Washington Post-ABC poll, 37 percent of white women now approve of Trump’s job performance, in a Washington Post-ABC poll released this week. And a quarter of these women strongly approve of the way Trump is doing his job, compared with 37 percent of white men.

White women with college degrees

But now support for Trump among white women with college degrees has decreased significantly. While 40 percent approved of the president’s job performance in April, only 27 percent do so now.

White women without college degrees

Trump has also lost support from white women without a college degree — one of the demographics most supportive of him. Forty-three percent of these women approve of Trump’s job performance. And 29 percent of those strongly approve of the way the president is handling his job.

At the Women’s March #PowerToThePolls rally Sunday in Las Vegas, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards credited women of color with getting liberal candidates elected across the country in Alabama, Virginia and Wisconsin after the 2016 presidential race.

“These victories were led and made possible by women of color,” she said.

"So white women, listen up. We’ve got to do better,” Richards added. “It is not up to women of color to save this country from itself. That’s on all of us. That’s on all of us.”

Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, told The Washington Post’s Vanessa Williams that criticism of white female voters is “embedded with the biases of more progressive women.”

“Some of those expressing concern and confusion about why women identify with the Republican Party are really asking why these women don’t seem to identify with other women who view Republican policies as problematic for women,” she said.

Like men, women tend to vote based on their ideology and party affiliation. And for some female voters, the most important issues for women are free markets, smaller government and ending legal abortion.

Trump often makes political decisions based on what is resonating most with his base. But that base includes white women. And for a leader experiencing some of the lowest approval ratings in history, retaining as much support as possible will be key to securing another four years in the White House.

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