Do men and women vote differently?

Author's Note: Do men and women vote differently?

The day I began writing this article on gender and voting, news outlets informed me that Republican senators had blocked the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act on the grounds that it would result in a tidal wave of salary discrimination lawsuits from underpaid women. I wasn't surprised at the quick shutdown since the now-defunct legislation was introduced not-so-coincidentally during a fierce presidential election season that has, so far, revolved around women. One week, pundits are abuzz because polls show Democratic President Obama with a hefty lead among potential female voters, and the next week, politicos are panicking because another survey has revealed that women might not be as primed to re-elect the president as previous data suggested.

As a woman, it's certainly intriguing to watch how political campaigns actively court the female vote. And it's been equally interesting to witness backlash from women voters who don't appreciate being lumped together as a monolith voting bloc. With all of that swirling in the background, I was glad to have an excuse to dig into some long-term data and see whether women really do vote so differently from men. But broad-brush polling statistics should also be ingested with a grain of salt, because, like I write in the article, there's a lot of nuance to those numbers.

Related Articles


  • Alford, John R. et al. "The Politics of Mate Choice." The Journal of Politics. Vol. 73, No. 02. April 2011.
  • Center for American Women and Politics. "Gender & Voting Behavior." Rutgers University. (June 06, 2012)
  • Center for American Women and Politics. "The Gender Gap." Rutgers University. 2008. (June 06, 2012)
  • Center for American Women and Politics. "Young Women and Politics." Rutgers University. June 2005. (June 06, 2012)
  • Chiao, Joan Y.; Bowman, Nicholas E.; and Gill, Harleen. "The Political Gender Gap: Gender Bias in Facial Inferences that Predict Voting Behavior." PLoS One. Oct. 31, 2008. (June 06, 2012)
  • Frum, David. "The Women's Vote 2012." The Daily Beast. April 02, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Hancock, Ange-Marie. "Courting the Female Voter." University of Southern California. March 16, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Henneberger, Melinda. "Five myths about female voters." The Washington Post. April 20, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Hirshman, Linda. "16 Ways of Looking at a Female Voter." The New York Times Magazine. Feb. 03, 2008. (June 06, 2012)
  • Kuhn, David Paul. "What White Women Want, Surprisingly the GOP." Real Clear Politics. Nov. 13, 2009. (June 06, 2012)
  • Manza, Jeff and Brooks, Clem. "The Gender Gap in U.S. Presidential Elections: When? Why? Implications?" American Journal of Sociology. March 1998. (June 06, 2012)
  • Newport, Frank. "U.S. Voters' Top Election Issues Don't Include Birth Control." April 02, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Neuman, Scott. "Just How Independent Are Independent Voters?" NPR. March 27, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Pew Research Center. "The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever." March 29, 2012. (June 06, 2012)
  • Schaffner, Brian F. "Priming Gender: Campaigning on Women's Issues in U.S. Senate Elections." American Journal of Political Science. October 2005.
  • Wolf, Alison. "Why do women vote differently from men?" BBC Magazine. (June 06, 2012)