Donald Trump moved from a 56% favorable, 36% unfavorable rating among Republicans back in mid-July, when we first began tracking his image, to a 63% favorable, 31% unfavorable reading in the two weeks ending Sept. 1. That marked a seven-percentage-point jump in his favorable rating and a 12-point gain in his net favorability.
Bubbling beneath the surface of these overall Republican favorability trends are some intriguing insights about how Republican men and Republican women view Trump.
My colleague Stephanie Marken reported in August on gender differences among Republicans in their views of the GOP candidates based on aggregated data from July 8-Aug. 13. Trump had a nine-point gender gap among Republicans for this time period -- based on his 59% favorable rating among men and a 50% favorable score among women.
The gap has widened since then. From Aug. 14-Sept. 1, Trump's favorable rating among GOP men is 68%, compared with 54% among women. So the gender gap across these two broad time periods went from nine to 14 points. Republican men's positive image of Trump has gone up more than women's (nine points up among men, four points among women).
But there are interesting patterns in how men and women view Trump when we take a more granular look at trends across the two-week time periods. The data I reviewed here show that most of Trump's gain over the past two months among Republicans has actually come in the last two weeks. Trump started with a GOP favorable rating (among all Republicans) of 56% July 8-21, stayed stable with a 55% favorable score July 22-Aug. 4 and a 54% score Aug. 5-18, and then enjoyed the positive bump in the last two weeks, Aug. 19-Sept. 1, with a favorable rating of 63%.
Here is the breakout of Republican men's and Republican women's favorable ratings of Trump across these four time periods:
Trump started out with identical favorable numbers among men and women in the July 8-21 time period. There was no gender gap at all.
Then, things changed. Men and women have diverged in each time period since that baseline reading.
Trump's overall favorable number July 22-Aug. 4 stayed essentially constant, but this masked a big gender gap underneath, with men's favorable score swelling to 63% while women's dropped to 45%. This all occurred before the GOP debate (Aug. 6) and therefore was not a result of the gender-related contretemps that erupted as a result of that event.
During the next time period (Aug. 5-18) which did encompass the GOP debate, men's favorable rating of Trump settled back down while women's rose back up slightly. A gender gap remained, but not as significant as in the two weeks prior.
The big change in Trump's GOP favorable rating, as noted, has occurred in the last two weeks (Aug. 19-Sept. 1), and this appears to be largely a function of a once-again widening gender gap. Men's favorable rating of Trump has jumped to 70%, while women's edged up only slightly to 54%.
Two big-picture conclusions arise from this analysis. One, men's positive image of Trump is now 14 points higher than it was in mid-July when we began tracking Trump's image on a daily basis, while women's is actually down two points. From this point-to-point perspective, Trump's gains among Republicans have all come among GOP men.
Second, although it's clear that views of Trump within Republican gender groups are quite labile, Republican men have been more positive about Trump than Republican women in every time period from late July to the present. Each two-week period has about 1,000 Republicans, which means that the gender groups are in the 400-500 sample size range.
Stephanie Marken pointed out in her August analysis that Republican men are, in general, more positive about GOP candidates than are Republican women. So, as an additional point of analysis, it's useful to look at where the list of 17 candidates stand across GOP gender groups in the time since that analysis, Aug. 14-Sept. 1.
We've seen somewhat of a shift in relative views of the candidates among men and women. Now, three candidates have at least marginally higher favorability among GOP women than among GOP men; none did in the earlier time period.
Trump? His gender gap for this time period is tied with Scott Walker as the highest of any candidate. Trump's favorable rating among GOP men specifically is the highest of any candidate, eclipsing Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. But, among GOP women, Trump's favorable score is tied with Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Carson.
The bottom line: Trump's positive image among Republicans owes much to his strength among GOP men.