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Gender Gaps in Polling in Key Races

As we close the midterm election season, public opinion polling in close races shows significant gender gaps–“the measurable difference in the way women and men vote for (or favor) candidates and in the way they view political issues” (see Eleanor Smeal, Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President). For example, the L.A. Times just last week revealed a massive 19 percent point gender gap in the race between Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) versus Carly Fiorina (R) and a 24 percent gap in the California gubernatorial race between Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R). Without the women’s vote, Brown and Boxer would not be leading their Republican opponents in the pre-election day polls. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey released on October 25, 2010 their “Women Voters Less Likely than Men to Support Republican Women Candidates: Gender Gap Remains a Force in Election 2010.” CAWP found gender gaps in some 22 races. In every case, women favor Democrats more than men. “In some races,” CAWP did add, “both women and men favor the Republican candidates, but women do so at a lower rate than men.” The Hill (Largest Circulation of Any Capitol Hill Publication) newspaper reported gender gaps in key toss up races, such as in IA-3, North Dakota At Large, PA-11, and South Dakota At Large districts.

Sources:

L.A. Times 10/26/10; The Hill 10/27/10; Eleanor Smeal, Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President. Harper & Row Publishers, 1984; CAWP and Eagleton Institute of Politics 10/25/10