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« Quotational Therapy: Part 5 -- Lincoln, On Having Faith In People. | WILLisms.com | Baby Survives Abortion, Mom Sues Hospital. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 27 -- The Gender Gap.

The Gender Gap-

Women tend to vote more for Democrats, men vote more for Republicans. It's a powerful rule of thumb in politics today. But it wasn't always that way, and even now it isn't quite what you might think:

"Before 1980, either there were no gender differences in the vote or women more than men tended to vote Republican. For example, women favored Dwight D. Eisenhower by 7 points more than men in 1956, and had the 1960 presidential election been decided by women alone, Richard Nixon would have been elected president" (Erikson, Tedin).

Look at the vote for Republican presidential candidates over the years:


Notice how, following the low point of 1992, the Republican vote has steadily risen for both men and women. In recent elections, pundits have said that Republicans have "women problems." In 2004, though, it was John Kerry who had "men problems," while George W. Bush increased his share of the female vote by 5% from 2000.

Republicans can still win elections with less than 50% of the female vote, while, over the last 25 years, Democrats have only won elections when less than 50% of men vote for Republicans.

Now, look at the gender-based vote for Democrats:


Notice that the ladies did love President Clinton. The gender gap goes from 8 to 7 to 8 to 4 to 11 to 12, back down to 7, over the years. While the vote for Democrats has creeped upward for both men and women since 1980, this graphic could be somewhat misleading, given the landslide victories for Reagan at the beginning of the time series, in which the Democrats really trudged through the depths of the political wilderness.

Finally, look at the minor party vote over the same time:


The lessons to take from this graphic are:

1. Ross Perot did hurt Republicans more than Democrats. This may seem self-evident, but many academicians and journalists still cling to the notion that Perot took votes from both parties, evenly.

2. Men, over the past quarter century, have been somewhat more likely than women to vote for a third party.

3. The age of "dealignment" may be over. For now. There is literature galore in academia about how America is moving away from the two major parties. This work, of course, looks increasingly foolish following the 2004 election, in which minor party vote was almost insignificant. The trend clearly indicates that the two major parties have recovered, and support for third parties is marginal.

Could that change again, moving forward? Definitely.

Much has been written in the press lately about the alleged coming Republican Party breakup, but a resurgent left-wing party such as the Greens could easily give the Democrats fits in 2008. Indeed, as the Howard Dean influence seeps further into the core of the DNC, presumably in order to stave off said challenge from the left flank, the party's remaining moderates in the House are increasingly uncomfortable with the ideological direction of the party.

The gender gap in party identification (different from actual vote) also shows interesting patterns over the years:

The notion that the gender gap was created by women becoming more Democratic in their partisan preference and vote choice is wrong. The data show just the opposite. The voting behavior and partisan behavior of women has remained essentially stable since 1980. Meanwhile, men have moved in the Republican direction. It is this movement among men that accounts for the gender gap partisanship and vote choice" (Erikson, Tedin).

In other words, the gender gap may be more of a "man problem" for Democrats than it is a "woman problem" for Republicans.


-The 1998 paper Deconstructing the Gender Gap, by Harvard Professor Anna Greenberg.

-Page 207 of American Public Opinion: Its Origins, Content, and Impact, written by Professors Robert S. Erikson and Kent L. Tedin.

-Exit polls.

Previous trivia tidbits:

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10; Part 11; Part 12; Part 13; Part 14; Part 15; Part 16; Part 17; Part 18; Part 19; Part 20; Part 21, Part 22; Part 23, Part 24, Part 25; Part 26.

Daily Trivia Tidbits cover a wide range of topics; you never know what you might find. Stay tuned to WILLisms.com for more.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 April 2005 09:13 AM


women are more likely to vote democrat than men? thats because, for the most part, we're of a superior intelligence.


Posted by: B at April 25, 2005 02:38 PM

I think the abortion issue has much to do with that! It just seems there are an awful lot of females who really have bought into the it's my body and I have the choice to kill the life inside me attitude! They really feel entitled to be able to use abortion as their own birth control devise! I know so many woman who have had abortions and refuse to take the pill because it makes them fat! Honestly, they just don't get it! ... So as far as the superior intelligence theory... I am not so sure that a vote for a Democrat is anything other than your average self-centered liberal who wants her own way!... Just a theory!

Posted by: Taffy at April 26, 2005 11:02 AM

If they are so smart why are they voting for Democrats?

Posted by: Lisa at April 26, 2005 06:23 PM