The past, present, and future of the women's vote

Article Highlights

  • Democrats will do better with women, Republicans with men. But women will not be a monolithic voting bloc in 2012.

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  • This November, 7 to 8 million more women than men will probably vote.

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  • This year, the momentum for female candidates is on the Democratic side.

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Democrats will do better with women; Republicans will do better with men. But women will not be a monolithic voting bloc in 2012 or beyond.

In 1938, when the Gallup Organization asked people whether they would vote for a woman for president “if she were qualified in every other respect,” only a third said they would. In 1943, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) asked people whether they would want their son to choose politics as a career. It didn’t ask about daughters. As late as 1974, NORC asked whether women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country to men.

Today, when Gallup asks people whether they would vote for a qualified woman for the nation’s highest office, a nearly unanimous 96 percent say they would. Survey firms now ask about careers for sons and daughters. And as for leaving running the country to men, pollsters haven’t asked that question in years. Clearly, we’ve come a long way.

Poll findings such as these confirm dramatic changes in our attitudes toward women, but what has happened in practice? Are more women choosing politics as a career, and if not, why? How much clout do women have at the ballot box? Are they voting differently from men in presidential elections? And, finally, what are we likely to see in November?

The full text of this article is available at The American.

 

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About the Author

 

Karlyn
Bowman

 

Jennifer K.
Marsico

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