New polls show that Senator Hillary Clinton’s (NY) solid lead in the polls for the Democratic candidate for president is a result of women voters. The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a poll among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents between May 29 and June 1. While men are almost equally likely to support Clinton and Senator Barack Obama (IL) (32 percent of men favored Clinton while 31 percent favored Obama), Clinton leads with a two to one margin among women voters. Fifty-one percent of women supported Clinton, while Obama received support from 24 percent and former senator John Edwards (NC) received support from 11 percent of women.
Clinton’s 19-point gender gap advantage is more pronounced among younger women and lesser-educated women. For example, among women who hold only a high school diploma, 61 percent supported Clinton, while 34 percent supported Obama.
Women are the majority of voters in the Democratic primary. The Washington Post reports that, in the early voting states such as New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, women comprised between 54 and 59 of primary voters.
In the general election, women are also the majority of voters. In 2004, former presidential candidate John Kerry, however, did not manage to carry as large a gender gap as Al Gore did in 2000. Gore held a 12 point gender gap, while Kerry won only a seven-point advantage among women (51 percent of women and 44 percent of men supported Kerry).
Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are all making efforts to outreach to women as voters and donors.