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Choosing the Velvet Glove: Women Voters, Ambivalent Sexism, and Vote Choice in 2016

  • Lorrie Frasure-Yokley (a1)

This paper examines the extent to which ambivalent sexism toward women influenced vote choice among American women during the 2016 Presidential election. I examine how this varied between white women and women of color. The 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) features several measures from the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI)—a scale developed by Glick and Fiske (1996) to assess sexist attitudes toward women. An index of these measures is used to examine the extent to which ambivalent sexist attitudes influenced women's vote choice for Donald Trump, controlling for racial resentment, partisanship, attitudes toward immigrants, economic anxiety, and socio-demographics. On the one hand, my findings indicate that ambivalent sexism was a powerful influence on women's Presidential vote choice in 2016, controlling for other factors. However, this finding, based on a model of all women voters is misleading, once an intersectional approach is undertaken. Once the data are disaggregated by gender and race, white women's political behavior proves very different than women of color. Among white women, ambivalent sexist views positively and significantly predicts vote choice for Trump, controlling for all other factors. However, for women of color, this relationship was negative and posed no statistical significant relationship to voting for Trump. Scholarship in gender and politics that does not account for group differences in race/ethnicity may present misleading results, which are either underestimated or overestimated.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, University of California, Los Angeles. E-mail:
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