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The Dynamics of the Partisan Gender Gap

  • JANET M. BOX-STEFFENSMEIER (a1), SUZANNA DE BOEF (a2) and TSE-MIN LIN (a3)
Abstract

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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor, Department of Political Science, Ohio State University, 2140 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1373 (jboxstef+@osu.edu).
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University, 219 Pond Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802 (sdeboef@psu.edu).
Associate Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A1800, Austin, TX 78712 (tml@mail.la.utexas.edu).
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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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