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Experts Clarify the Gender Gap

Experts on women and voting are working to correct misinformation in the media about the gender gap. The gender gap is the measurable difference in the way women and men vote and perceive issues; it is not the differences among women. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the University of Rutgers recently issued a memo to “set the record straight” about the gender gap. “In the 2004 election, a gender gap is apparent in women vs. men’s support of George W. Bush and John Kerry, both nationally and in battleground states,” the memo states. For example, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, the national gender gap is approximately 10 percent. In Iowa, women are 13 points more likely to vote for Kerry and nine points less likely to vote for Bush, according to the Des Moines Register. The gender gap was first discovered in 1980 by Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and then-president of the National Organization for Women, and she has popularized its usage in election and polling analyses to enhance women’s voting clout. Since 1980, there has been a measurable gender gap in every presidential election. In 2000, women were 10 points less likely than men to vote for George W. Bush and 12 points more likely than men to vote for Al Gore. Moreover, in 16 of the 21 states Gore won in electoral votes, his victory was because of the gender gap and women’s votes.

Sources:

CAWP 10/28/4; Des Moines Register 10/30/04; Feminist Majority Foundation