The gender gap—the difference between the voting patterns of men and women—proved crucial in presidential, Congressional, and statewide races. Overall, Gore enjoyed a 12-point gender gap in the nationwide Voter News Service exit polling, with 54% of women voting for Gore but only 42% of men. “Women’s votes are the reason Vice President Gore won the popular vote. If only women had voted, Gore would have had a landslide victory,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, the first political analyst to identify the gender gap as a political phenomenon in 1980.
The gender gap could influence the outcome of several undecided states and races. For example, exit polls in Florida showed an 11-point gender gap in favor of Gore. In Oregon, where no winner has been declared, a 13-point gender gap also favors Gore. And in the dead heat Washington Senate race, Democratic candidate Maria Cantwell enjoys a 10-point gender gap.