The Center for American Women and Politics is hands-down the best resource for information on women in politics. They’ve got a detailed five-page document that should be studied by anyone trying to understand the role this gap played this year.
First, what is the gender gap?
a measurable difference in the proportions of women and men who voted for the winning candidate
This year, women continued to be more likely than men to favor Democrats:
In each race where a gender gap was evident, women were more likely than men to support the Democratic candidate, and less likely to support the Republican.
Susan J. Carroll, senior scholar at CAWP, observed, “The gender gap is certainly alive and well. In fact, it was more widespread in this election than in any other. Typically, we see gender gaps in about two-thirds of all statewide races. This year we saw gender gaps in all but a couple of contests.”
This held true even for the women GOP candidates, winners and losers:
The gender gap was evident in key races involving high-profile Republican women candidates, with women voters less likely than men to support the Republican woman.
• In South Carolina, governor-elect Nikki Haley won 49% of women’s votes compared with 55% of men’s.
• In the Nevada Senate race, losing Republican candidate Sharron Angle garnered 48% of men’s votes but only 42% of women’s.
• In California, losing gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman won 45% of men’s votes, but only 39% of women’s.
The CAWP document includes three pages of race by race data for those races for which CAWP had exit poll information. For Ohio, women went for Ted Strickland over John Kasich, 49 to 47 although inthe US Senate race, they went for Rob Portman over Lee Fisher, 61 to 36.
What do you think explains the gender gap, this year or in any other year?