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Voting the Gender Gap

Lois Duke Whitaker

Publication Year: 2008

This book concentrates on the gender gap in voting--the difference in the proportion of women and men voting for the same candidate. Evident in every presidential election since 1980, this polling phenomenon reached a high of 11 percentage points in the 1996 election. The contributors discuss the history, complexity, and ways of analyzing the gender gap; the gender gap in relation to partisanship; motherhood, ethnicity, and the impact of parental status on the gender gap; and the gender gap in races involving female candidates. Voting the Gender Gap analyzes trends in voting while probing how women's political empowerment and gender affect American politics and the electoral process. _x000B__x000B_Contributors are Susan J. Carroll, Erin Cassese, Cal Clark, Janet M. Clark, M. Margaret Conway, Kathleen A. Dolan, Laurel Elder, Kathleen A. Frankovic, Steven Greene, Leonie Huddy, Mary-Kate Lizotte, Barbara Norrander, Margie Omero, and Lois Duke Whitaker._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

front cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This book grew out of a panel, “The Past, Present, and Future of the Gender Gap,” held at the 2005 American Political Science Association meeting in Washington, D.C. Several of the contributors to this book were participants on this panel. ...

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pp. ix-x

The editor would like to thank the contributors to this volume: Susan Carroll, Erin Cassese, Cal Clark, Janet Clark, Margaret Conway, Kathleen Dolan, Laurel Elder, Kathleen Frankovic, Steven Greene, Leonie Huddy, Mary-Kate Lizotte, Barbara Norrander, and Margie Omero. ...

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pp. 1-8

The importance of voting in free and fair elections to maintain successful representative democracies is stressed in the classic texts of democratic theory.1 Social scientists, using survey research data, have established a solid body of literature examining voting behavior and the results/consequences of American elections. ...

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1. A History of the Gender Gaps

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pp. 9-32

Recent election outcomes have often been couched in gender terms. The “security moms” of the 2004 election replaced the “soccer moms” of the 1996 contest. The 1992 election, after which the number of women in the U.S. House of Representatives grew from twenty-eight to forty-seven, was dubbed the “Year of the Woman.” ...

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2. Women and the Polls: Questions, Answers, Images

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pp. 33-49

America’s public opinion polls serve as cultural indicators of what kinds of questions are important and acceptable in journalistic discourse. They tell us about what the journalistic elite cares, what is acceptable language to use when engaging the public, and what the elite expectations are about what the public knows and cares. ...

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3. The Reemergence of the Gender Gap in 2004

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pp. 50-74

The “gender gap,” in which women vote for Democratic candidates to a significantly greater extent than men do, seemingly became a permanent feature of the political landscape in the United States during the last two decades of the twentieth century. As indicated in Table 3.1, this difference in voting of approximately eight to ten percentage points ...

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4. Security Moms and Presidential Politics: Women Voters in the 2004 Election

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pp. 75-90

A gender gap, defined as the absolute difference between the proportion of women and the proportion of men voting for the winning candidate, was clearly evident in the 2004 presidential election. The nationwide exit poll conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International showed that 48 percent of women compared with 55 percent of men ...

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5. Women Voters, Women Candidates: Is There a Gender Gap in Support for Women Candidates?

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pp. 91-107

Over the past twenty-five years or so, gender gaps have been visible in many different aspects of American politics—for example, party identification, vote choice for president, and public opinion on policy issues. These gaps have been present for a good period of time and, although the size of the gap between women and men ...

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6. Using Exit Polls to Explore the Gender Gap in Campaigns for Senate and Governor

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pp. 108-118

Being a political pollster, I regularly ask voters in focus groups and surveys to describe how they make voting decisions and political judgments. In much the way people make other judgments, voters use shortcuts to make sense of the political landscape around them. ...

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7. Parenthood and the Gender Gap

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pp. 119-140

Becoming a parent and raising children is one of the most lifechanging and enduring adult experiences. Having a child and taking on the role of parent may very well bring about changes in one’s political outlook and priorities, and these effects may be mediated by gender. ...

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8. Sources of Political Unity and Disunity among Women: Placing the Gender Gap in Perspective

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pp. 141-169

The gender gap has become a staple feature of the political landscape during the past several decades. Women have consistently voted in greater numbers than men for Democratic presidential and congressional candidates since the early 1980s.1 They have also expressed greater identification with the Democratic Party over the same time period.2 ...

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9. The Gender Gap: A Comparison across Racial and Ethnic Groups

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pp. 170-184

The term “gender gap” has been used to describe differences between men and women in vote choice, voter turnout, other types of political participation, policy preferences, and public opinion differences. Regardless of the topic studied, almost all research focusing on the United States has examined the gender gap ...

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Conclusion: When Women Vote, Are Women Empowered?

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pp. 185-190

This book has explored the gender gap in voting and the differences found in men and women in issue preferences, candidate choice, and partisan association. As we have seen from the articles in this volume, and certainly other scholarly studies bear this out, the gender gap is influenced by many societal, demographic, and regional factors; ...


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pp. 191-206

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pp. 207-210

Lois Duke Whitaker is a professor of political science at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. She is the author of many pieces on women and politics and on U.S. national government, including an edited book of readings, Women in Politics: Outsiders or Insiders? (4th ed., Prentice-Hall, 2006), ...


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pp. 211-216

back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252092855
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252033209

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2008

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Women -- Political activity -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Voting -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Political participation -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Women political candidates -- United States.
  • Sex role -- Political aspects -- United States.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 21st century
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