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CAWP Election Watch

Women candidates and their campaigns: the latest info, trends and historical context.

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Gender & Voting Behavior

The gender gap in voting is the difference in the percentage of women and men who support a given candidate, generally the leading or winning candidate. It is the gap between the genders not within a gender. Even if women and men favor the same candidate, they may do so by different margins, resulting in a gender gap.

Voter turnout refers to the proportion of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980, with the gap between women and men growing slightly larger with each successive election.

This page contains CAWP's research and analysis on the gender gap and voter turnout.

Gender Gap

Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics
Eds. Susan J. Carroll, CAWP, Rutgers University and Richard L. Fox, Union College, New York
Cambridge University Press, Third Edition, 2014, 287 pages
The third edition of Gender and Elections offers a systematic, lively, and multifaceted account of the role of gender in the electoral process through the 2012 elections. This timely yet enduring volume strikes a balance between highlighting the most important developments for women as voters and candidates in the 2012 elections and providing a more long-term, in-depth analysis of the ways that gender has helped shape the contours and outcomes of electoral politics in the United States. Individual chapters demonstrate the importance of gender in understanding and interpreting presidential elections, presidential and vice-presidential candidacies, voter participation and turnout, voting choices, congressional elections, the political involvement of Latinas, the participation of African American women, the support of political parties and women's organizations, candidate communications with voters, and state elections. Without question, Gender and Elections is the most comprehensive, reliable, and trustworthy resource on the role of gender in U.S. electoral politics. Order from and a percentage of the profits from the sale goes to CAWP.

“Security Moms and Presidential Politics: Women Voters in the 2004 Election”
Book chapter by Susan J. Carroll in Voting the Gender Gap
Ed. Lois Duke Whitaker
University of Illinois Press, 2008, 232 pages
This book concentrates on the gender gap in voting--the difference in the proportion of women and men voting for the same candidate. Evident in every presidential election since 1980, this polling phenomenon reached a high of 11 percentage points in the 1996 election. Contributors discuss the history, complexity, and ways of analyzing the gender gap in voting; the gender gap in relation to partisanship; motherhood, ethnicity, and the impact of parental status on the gender gap; and the gender gap in races involving female candidates. Order from Amazon and a percentage of the profits from the sale goes to CAWP.

Super Tuesday - Proportions of Men and Women Voting for Hillary Clinton
2008, 1 page
This CAWP fact sheet lists proportions of men and women voting for Hillary Clinton in primary states on super Tuesday, February 5, 2008.

Election 2006: Women’s Votes Pivotal in Shifting Control of US Senate to Democrats 
2006, 1 page                
Women voters provided the critical margin of victory in three must-win races that enabled Democrats to regain control of the US Senate, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. This advisory gives the details.

Gender Differences in Voter Turnout
2005, 2 pages
Includes listing of percentages of men and women voting in presidential and non-presidential years from 1964 through 2004 and voter registration numbers from 1984 through 2004. Also includes a break down of differences between men and women voting by racial category (1984 - 2004) and age (1996 and 2004).

Gender Gap: Voting Choices In Presidential Elections
2005, 1 page
Lists percentages of women and men voting for presidential candidates 1980-2004. A gender gap in voting for presidential candidates has been apparent in every election since 1980.

The Gender Gap Persists in 2004 Election
2004, 1 page
The gender gap remained a notable factor in the 2004 presidential election, according to an analysis of exit poll data by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. This advisory gives the details.

The Gender Gap in 2004 Election Widespread
2004, 1 page
The gender gap is evident in almost all segments of the electorate. Across many different demographic categories, women less often than men voted for George W. Bush. This advisory provides a breakdown of the vote in various categories, e.g. race, age, marital status.

The Gender Gap and the 2004 Women’s Vote: Setting the Record Straight
2004, 1 page
Media coverage this election season has featured a great deal of misinformation about the gender gap and women’s voting patterns. This advisory explains the gender gap issue, the women's vote and provides some facts, both current and historical, on the gender gap and the women's vote.

Gender Gap: Party Identification and Presidential Performance Ratings
2005, 2 pages
Polling data from 1981-2004 on differences between men and women on party identification and presidential performance ratings, from Ronald Regan through George W. Bush.

Voting Patterns of Young Men and Women 
2005, 2 pages
Voting percentages and attitudes of young men and women from 1974 through 2004.

Gender Differences in Voter Turnout in 2004
An analysis of the U. S. Census data on differences in the number of men and women voting in 2004.

Gender Gap in the 2000 Elections
Analysis of gender gaps among voters in the 2000 presidential contest as well as Senate, House and gubernatorial elections.

Gender Gap in Voter Turnout in 2000: Battleground States
2000, 1 page
A list of percentages and numbers of men and women voters in 18 states where the margin of victory for Bush or Gore in the 2000 elections was less than 7 percentage points.

Gender Gap in the 1998 Elections
1998, 7 pages
Analysis of gender gaps among voters in the 1998 Senate and gubernatorial elections.

Gender Gap: Attitudes on Public Policy
1997, 2 pages
Polling data from 1994-1996 on differences between men and women on selected policy issues.

Women Voters and the Gender Gap
Link to an American Political Science Association Online (APSAnet) web page that discusses the gender gap in the 2004 election and historically, and provides a list of books and articles that offer more detailed information on the subject.