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
  • Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, NAFTA and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
  • Phone: 2028625910
    Email: kbowman@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 2028625917
    Email: andrew.rugg@aei.org

 

Jennifer K.
Marsico
  • Jennifer K. Marsico is a senior research associate at AEI, working in the Political Corner. Her research focuses on elections and election reform, as well as government continuity issues. She is a visiting fellow at the Independent Women's Forum. She is also a contributor to the AEIdeas blog, and has also written for many outside print and online publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Roll Call. Ms. Marsico serves as assistant director of the AEI-Brookings Continuity of Government Commission, and has contributed to recent studies on Supreme Court continuity, voter registration modernization, and civic participation in the digital age.

  • Phone: 202.862.5899
    Email: jennifer.marsico@aei.org

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