Gender Gap Alive and Well

At a National Press Club conference today, feminist leaders Eleanor Smeal, Kim Gandy, and Martha Burk, together with pollster Celinda Lake, released an independent national election poll which showed the importance of the gender gap. The poll showed that “the gender gap is alive and well.” [For complete poll analysis by Lake, Snell Perry & Associates, click here.] The Votes for Women 2004 coalition, of which the Feminist Majority Foundation is a member, released an independent election poll conducted by Lake, Snell Perry & Associates (LSPA). According to analysis of the poll, the gender gap was evident along racial and marital lines and among all age groups. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, analyzing the state exit polls, released a report which showed without the state gender gaps, the election would not have been close. Kerry won in nine of 20 state states only because of the gender gap and the votes of women. In these states (DE, ME, MI, NH, NJ, OR, PA, WA, WI), he had the support of a majority of women, but did not have the majority support among men. “Without the gender gap and women’s votes, the 2004 presidential election would not have been so close,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The Votes for Women coalition poll showed that when more choices were given as to the most important issue of the election, the much-ballyhooed “moral values” was reduced from 23 percent choosing it in the national exit poll to only 10 percent choosing it in the LSPA election poll. “Much has been made of the role moral values played in this election based on exits that tended to use a limited list of concerns,” according to the LSPA poll analysis. “However, when using a more complete list of concerns – like Social Security and prescription drugs, our research indicates that economic and security considerations took precedence in voters’ minds in deciding for whom to vote.” The poll also found that 49 percent of women identify themselves as feminists, and only 41 percent as not feminists. Moreover, 56% of women who have attended college consider themselves feminists, and so do 49% of Independent women, 62% of Democratic women, and 35% of Republican women. Of women who identified themselves as feminists, 64% voted for Kerry, while only 48% of self-identified male feminists voted for Kerry, yielding a 16-point gender gap. Of women and men combined who identified as “not a feminist,” only 60% voted for Bush, while 39% voted for Kerry.


Votes for Women survey; Feminist Majority Foundation analysis; National Election Pool exit polling

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