Mind the Gender Gap

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Andrew Kohut


01/18/2008 - A lot of attention has been paid to the women’s vote in the first two Democratic nominating contests. In the Iowa caucuses, Barack Obama won a narrow victory over Hillary Clinton among female voters. But in New Hampshire women rallied to the former first lady giving her a huge 46 percent to 34 percent margin, which was the deciding factor in her comeback win.

In contrast, the voting preferences of men have not drawn as much attention, perhaps because men voted the same way in both states: a strong plurality of men backed Obama. According to the Edison/Mitofsky entrance polls in Iowa, 35 percent of male caucus-goers supported Senator Obama, compared with 23 percent who backed Senator Clinton. In the New Hampshire primary, Senator Obama carried the male vote by a similarly large 40 percent to 29 percent margin, despite his narrow defeat there.

What’s going on here? Does Senator Clinton have a problem with male voters or does Senator Obama simply appeal more to men? A look at the exit polls and latest national polls suggests that the answer is a little bit of both, but the anti-Clinton sentiment is a somewhat larger factor among men. In particular, Hillary Clinton seems to turn off younger and moderate to conservative male Democrats. As many as one-in-five of them say there is no way they will support the former first lady for the nomination.

But this sentiment aside, Senator Obama has some qualities that strongly appeal to male Democrats. Indeed, men more so than women find him inspiring and trustworthy. The Illinois senator also draws much more support from men who are college graduates than from those with less education.

Read the full article Mind the Gender Gap on the New York Times Web site.

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