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The Dynamics of the Partisan Gender Gap

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2004

Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
University of Texas at Austin


Gender differences in vote choice, opinion, and party identification have become a common feature of the American political landscape. We examine the nature and causes of gender differences in partisanship using a time series approach. We show that gender differences are pervasive—existing outside of the context of specific elections or issues—and that they are a product of the interaction of societal conditions and politics. We find that from 1979 to 2000, the partisan gender gap has grown when the political climate moved in a conservative direction, the economy deteriorated, and the percentage of economically vulnerable, single women increased. The gender gap is likely to be a continual feature of the American political landscape: one that shapes everything from elite political behavior to election outcomes.

© 2004 by the American Political Science Association

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