Gender, public opinion, and political reasoning

Leonie Huddy, Erin Cassese, Mary Kate Lizotte

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

56 Scopus citations


Men and women differ in their political attitudes and behavior, but these differencesare modest and inconsistent (Sapiro 2003). The much-discussed gender gap in voting choice and partisan preference in which women identify more strongly with the Democratic Party and give greater electoral support to Democratic candidates is real, persistent, and consequential. However, it is also modest in size, with women and men differing in their support for Democratic presidential and congressional candidates by 8 to 10 percentage points on average. This difference is small compared with other political differences across demographic groups such as race, in which the gap in vote choice between blacks and whites is closer to 40 percentage points (Tate 1994). There are also small or inconsistent differences between men and women in many areas of public opinion, leaving researchers to analyze various “gender gaps” of differing origins, in addition to many areas of public opinion in which there are simply no such differences (Schlesinger and Heldman 2001). In reality, men and women both differ and converge politically ininteresting ways that deserve the scrutiny of empirical researchers (for a similar point aboutdifferences between male and female politicians, see Reingold, this volume). Differences between men and women are slight, but that does not necessarily neutralize their political power.A difference of even 8 to 10 percentage points can determine the outcome of elections because women represent a larger segment of the voting population than do men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolitical Women and American Democracy
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780511790621
ISBN (Print)9780521886239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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