Two recent polls reveal that, while the presidential race remains close, Vice President Al Gore is edging closer to victory with a large gender gap that shows women overwhelmingly favoring the Democrat. A Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows that 52 percent of women favor Gore and 38 percent favor Bush; among men, 38 favor Gore while 52 favor Bush. A Reuters/Zogby poll also shows a “massive” gender gap. “The gender gap today is one of the largest we have ever seen,” says Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and first to identify the gender gap. “With this massive a gender gap, and with ten million more women than men likely to vote, Gore has unquestionably gained the edge over Bush.” Smeal, a political scientist, notes not only that women outnumber men, but that women are more likely to be registered to vote and to go to the polls on election day.
Both the Post/ABC poll and the Reuters/Zogby poll show that Gore leads Bush on most issues that voters consider important, and also demonstrate that the gender gap widens when looking at particular issues, with the majority of women favoring Gore. Currently, Gore is leading on education, health care, and other issues that commonly appeal to women voters, including abortion. Retired Republican Senator Alan Simpson, recently interviewed on MSNBC’s Chris Matthews show, attributed the massive gender gap to the abortion issue. Smeal stressed the importance of abortion in this election, saying that this massive gender gap will likely force Republicans to confront the abortion issue, which they have been trying to avoid in the presidential election.