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The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics (link is external) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women's participation in politics and government and to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life.
Includes listing of percentages of men and women voting in presidential and non-presidential years from 1964 through 2012 and voter registration numbers from 1984 through 2012. Also includes a breakdown of differences between men and women voting by racial category (1984 - 2012) and age (1996 and 2012).
A list of percentages and numbers of men and women voters in 18 states where the margin of victory for Bush or Gore in the 2000 elections was less than 7 percentage points.
Included in this table are the 18 states where the margin of victory for Bush or Gore in the 2000 elections was less than 7 percentage points.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "Table 4a. Reported Voting and Registration of the Total Voting-Age Population, by Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin, For States: November 2000."
The "gender gap" refers to differences between women and men in political attitudes and voting choices. A gender gap has been apparent in both party identification and evaluations of the performances of recent presidents.
A gender gap in party identification has been evident since the early 1980s. Larger proportions of women than men are Democrats.
Presidential Performance Ratings:
A gender gap also is evident in ratings of presidential performance. In general, women are less likely then men to evaluate favorably the job performance of Republican presidents, and women are more likely than men to evaluate favorably the job performance of Democratic Presidents. Women generally have been less likely than men to approve of the way recent Republican Presidents (George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan) have handled their job as President.
Voting percentages and attitudes of young men and women from 1974 through 2012.
1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports. Percent of the voting-age population who reported they voted.
2. The American Freshman: National Norms, Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.
A gender gap in voting refers to a difference between the percentage of women and the percentage of men voting for a given candidate, generally the winning candidate. Even when women and men favor the same candidate, they may do so by different margins, resulting in a gender gap. In every presidential election since 1980, a gender gap has been apparent, with a greater proportion of women than men preferring the Democrat in each case.
In every presidential election since 1996, a majority of women have preferred the Democratic candidate. Moreover, women and men have favored different candidates in presidential elections since 2000, with the exception of 2008 when men were almost equally divided in their preferences for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. In 2016, a majority of women favored the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, while a majority of men voted for the Republican victor, Donald Trump.
1. For information on the gender gap on public policy issues, see CAWP's fact sheet "The Gender Gap: Attitudes Toward Public Policy Issues."
2. All exit poll results for the years 1992-2016 are consistent with those reported by the Roper Center at Cornell University, where the exit poll data are archived. Results from 1980, 1984, and 1988 are consistent with those reported by the New York Times, the cosponsor of the polls we cite for those elections.
3. Voter News Service is the service which was known as Voter Research and Surveys until 1993. It is referred to on this fact sheet by the newer name.
4. From 1980 to 1988 major media outlets conducted separate exit polls. While not presented here, exit polls conducted by ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News showed gender gaps of similar magnitude to those evident in the CBS/New York Times poll results.
The data used for this article are from Voter News Service (VNS) which conducted exit polls in 65 races. VNS reports an average margin of error of four percentage points for its statewide polls; the margin of error for part of the sample (e.g. female or male voters) may be greater.
In 72% (47 of 65) races where Voter News Service (VNS) conducted exit polls on election day, there were gender gaps of at least four percentage points - that is, a difference of at least four percentage points between the proportion of women’s and men’s votes garnered by the winner. There were gender gaps of this magnitude in 70% (23 of 33) gubernatorial races and in 75% (24 of 32) senatorial races. In all but 3 of the 47 races with gender gaps, female voters were more supportive of Democratic candidates than were male voters.
Winner elected by men and women depends on higher percentage of exit polls contribution to the the winning candidate. If contribution of women is higher for winning candidate then its women elected candidate and similarly if men contribution is higher for winning candidate then its men elected candidate.
U.S. Election: Proportions of Women & Men Who Voted for Hillary Clinton in the Super Tuesday Races of Feb 5, 2008
Note: These figures are from the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. No entrance polling was done in the six states that held caucuses on 2/5/08; therefore these states are not included in this table.
The “gender gap” refers to differences between women and men in political attitudes and voting choices. A gender gap has been apparent in voting behavior, party identification, evaluations of performances of recent presidents, and attitudes toward some public policy issues.
A gender gap is apparent in the way women and men respond to a variety of contemporary issues. Among many issues gender gaps have been observed, recent polls have found that, compared with men, women are:
- more likely to favor a more activist role for government;
- more supportive of programs to guarantee health care and basic social services;
- more supportive of restrictions on firearms;
- more supportive of same-sex marriage; and
- more likely to favor legal abortion without restrictions.
In addition to these issue-based trends, there is also a gender gap evident in how men and women feel about the outlook for the country. Recent polls have found that, compared with men, women are slightly more optimistic and/or satisfied with the direction in which the country is going.
CAWP tracks and analyzes polling data related to the women's vote in presidential elections.
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