Skip to main content

Race, Gender, and the 2016 Presidential Election

  • Tasha S. Philpot (a1)

With the first female presidential candidate at the top of the Democratic ticket, the gender gap in 2016 was predicted to be the largest ever. Although the gender gap proved to be bigger than any other in recent history, with a majority of women voting for Hillary Clinton, a disaggregation of the vote by race indicated that not all women equally supported the female presidential candidate. This suggests the existence of a racialized gender gap not previously explored by extant research. Thus, this article explores the nature of this interracial gender gap by examining the political evaluations of men and women, by race, in the 2016 presidential election. Using data from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) Time Series Study merged with the ANES Cumulative Data File (1948–2012), predictors of the gender gap were explored and the circumstances under which an interracial gender gap can be narrowed were examined.

Hide All
American National Election Studies. 2010. “Time Series Cumulative Data File [Dataset.]” Stanford University and the University of Michigan [producers and distributors]. Available at
American National Election Studies. 2016. “The ANES 2016 Time Series Study [Dataset].” Stanford University and the University of Michigan [producers]. Available at
Baxter, Sandra, and Lansing, Marjorie. 1983. Women and Politics: The Visible Majority. Revised edition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Bejarano, Christina E. 2014. The Latino Gender Gap in U.S. Politics. New York: Routledge.
Berelson, Bernard R., Lazarsfeld, Paul F., and McPhee, William N.. 1954. Voting: A Study of Opinion Formation in a Presidential Campaign. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Black, Merle. 2004. “The Transformation of the Southern Democratic Party.” Journal of Politics 66 (4): 1001–17.
Block, Ray. 2011. “Backing Barack Because He’s Black: Racially Motivated Voting in the 2008 Election.” Social Science Quarterly 92 (2): 423–46.
Bositis, David A. 2012. “Blacks and the 2012 Elections: A Preliminary Analysis.” Washington, DC: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M., De Boef, Suzanna, and Lin, Tse-Min. 2004. “The Dynamics of the Partisan Gender Gap.” American Political Science Review 98 (3): 515–28.
Cadei, Emily. 2016. “Differences between Men and Women Voters Widen in 2016.” Newsweek, March 15.
Campbell, Angus, Converse, Philip, Miller, Warren, and Stokes, Donald. 1960. The American Voter. New York: Wiley.
Chaney, Carole K., Michael Alvarez, R., and Nagler, Jonathan. 1998. “Explaining the Gender Gap in U.S. Presidential Elections, 1980–1992.” Political Research Quarterly 51 (2): 311–39.
Chaturved, Richa. 2016. “A Closer Look at the Gender Gap in Presidential Voting.” Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
Conover, Pamela Johnston. 1988. “Feminists and the Gender Gap.” Journal of Politics 50 (4): 9851010.
Cook, Elizabeth Adell, and Wilcox, Clyde. 1991. “Feminism and the Gender Gap: A Second Look.” Journal of Politics 53 (4): 1111–22.
Darcy, R., and Hadley, Charles D.. 1988. “Black Women in Politics: The Puzzle of Success.” Social Science Quarterly 69 (3): 629–45.
Edwards, Sue Bradford, and Harris, Duchess. 2016. Black Lives Matter. Minneapolis, MN: Essential Library.
Frankovic, Kathleen A. 1982. “Sex and Politics: New Alignments, Old Issues.” Political Science & Politics 15 (3): 439–48.
Gay, Claudine, and Tate, Katherine. 1998. “Doubly Bound: The Impact of Gender and Race on the Politics of Black Women.” Political Psychology 19 (1): 169–84.
Gilens, Martin. 1988. “Gender and Support for Reagan: A Comprehensive Model of Presidential Approval.” American Journal of Political Science 32: 1949.
Hawley, George. 2017. Making Sense of the Alt-Right. New York: Columbia University Press.
hooks, bell. 1981. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston: South End.
Howell, Susan E., and Day, Christine L.. 2000. “Complexities of the Gender Gap.” Journal of Politics 62 (3): 858–74.
Hutchings, Vincent L., Valentino, Nicholas A., Philpot, Tasha S., and White, Ismail K.. 2004. “The Compassion Strategy: Race and the Gender Gap in Campaign 2000.” Public Opinion Quarterly 68 (4): 512–41.
Hutchings, Vincent L., Walton, Hanes, and Benjamin, Andrea. 2010. “The Impact of Explicit Racial Cues on Gender Differences in Support for Confederate Symbols and Partisanship.” Journal of Politics 72 (4): 1175–88.
Kaufmann, Karen M. 2002. “Culture Wars, Secular Realignment, and the Gender Gap in Party Identification.” Political Behavior 24 (3): 283307.
Kaufmann, Karen M. 2006. “The Gender Gap.” PS: Political Science & Politics 39 (3): 447–53.
Kaufmann, Karen M., and Petrocik, John R.. 1999. “The Changing Politics of American Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap.” American Journal of Political Science 43 (3): 864–87.
Kinder, Donald R., and Sanders, Lynn M.. 1996. Divided by Color: Racial Politics and Democratic Ideals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kinder, Donald R., and Winter, Nicholas. 2001. “Exploring the Racial Divide: Blacks, Whites, and Opinion on National Policy.” American Journal of Political Science 45 (2): 439–56.
King, Mae C. 1975. “Oppression and Power: The Unique Status of the Black Woman in the American Political System.” Social Science Quarterly 56 (1): 116–28.
Kurtzleben, Danielle. 2016. “The Gender Gap in This Election Could Be the Biggest in at Least 60 Years.” National Public Radio, November 4.
Lien, Pei-Te. 1998. “Does the Gender Gap in Political Attitudes and Behavior Vary across Racial Groups?” Political Research Quarterly 51 (4): 869–94.
Norrander, Barbara. 1999. “The Evolution of the Gender Gap.” Public Opinion Quarterly 63 (4): 566–76.
Norrander, Barbara. 2003. “The Intraparty Gender Gap: Differences between Male and Female Voters in the 1980–2000 Presidential Primaries.” PS: Political Science & Politics 36 (2): 181–6.
Philpot, Tasha S., and Walton, Hanes Jr. 2007. “One of Our Own: Black Female Candidates and the Voters Who Support Them.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (1): 4962.
Philpot, Tasha S., and Walton, Hanes Jr. 2014. “African American Political Participation.” In Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics in the United States, ed. Leal, David L., Lee, Taeku, and Sawyer, Mark. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reeves, Keith. 1997. Voting Hopes or Fears? White Voters, Black Candidates and Racial Politics in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schuman, Howard, Steeh, Charlotte, Bobo, Lawrence, and Krysan, Maria. 1997. Racial Attitudes in America: Trends and Interpretations. Revised edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Shapiro, Robert Y., and Mahajan, Harpreet. 1986. “Gender Differences in Policy Preferences: A Summary of Trends from the 1960s and 1980s.” Public Opinion Quarterly 50: 4261.
Simien, Evelyn M., and Clawson, Rosalee A.. 2004. “The Intersection of Race and Gender: An Examination of Black Feminist Consciousness, Race Consciousness, and Policy Attitudes.” Social Science Quarterly 85 (3): 793810.
Smooth, Wendy. 2006. “Intersectionality in Electoral Politics: A Mess Worth Making.” Politics & Gender 2 (3): 400414.
Tesler, Michael, and Sears, David O.. 2010. Obama’s Race: The 2008 Election and the Dream of a Post-Racial America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Waldman, Paul. 2016. “Why the 2016 Election May Produce the Largest Gender Gap in History.” The Washington Post, March 17.
Walters, Ron. 2007. “Barack Obama and the Politics of Blackness.” Journal of Black Studies 38 (1): 729.
Welch, Susan, and Hibbing, John. 1992. “Financial Conditions, Gender, and Voting in American National Elections.” Journal of Politics 54 (1): 197213.
Welch, Susan, and Sigelman, Lee. 1992. “A Gender Gap among Hispanics? A Comparison with Blacks and Anglos.” Western Political Quarterly 45 (1): 181–99.
Wilcox, Clyde, Ferrara, Joseph, and Allsop, Dee. 1993. “Group Differences in Early Support for Military Action in the Gulf: The Effects of Gender, Generation, and Ethnicity.” American Politics Quarterly 21 (3): 343–59.
Wirls, Daniel. 1986. “Reinterpreting the Gender Gap.” Public Opinion Quarterly 50 (3): 316–30.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed