'Mortgage Moms' and 'More Responsible Fathers': Parenthood and Issue Attitudes in the 2008 Presidential Election

Laurel Elder

Hartwick College

Steven Greene

North Carolina State University


APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper

This paper employs 2008 American National Election Studies (NES) data to explore whether parents are any different than their peers without children in terms of their views on important policy issues, their presidential vote choice, and their feelings towards Sarah Palin. We find that the very personal and intense act of raising children is a politically defining experience. Rather than finding parents to be a distinctively conservative group, as they are often portrayed in the media, our results support the idea advanced by some feminist thinkers that time spent raising children has liberalizing political effects on women. Moreover, the data reveal that on social welfare issues and to a lesser extent national security and social issues parenthood pushes women and men in opposite ideological directions. Finally, despite media coverage suggesting Sarah Palin’s presence would attract parents, especially mothers, to the Republican ticket, we find no support for this idea.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: 2008 election, gender, parenthood

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Date posted: August 13, 2009 ; Last revised: August 28, 2009

Suggested Citation

Elder, Laurel and Greene, Steven, 'Mortgage Moms' and 'More Responsible Fathers': Parenthood and Issue Attitudes in the 2008 Presidential Election (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1451344

Contact Information

Laurel Elder (Contact Author)
Hartwick College ( email )
Oneonta, NY 13820-4020
United States
Steven Greene
North Carolina State University ( email )
Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States
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