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

38 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 28 Aug 2009

Laurel Elder

Hartwick College

Steven Greene

North Carolina State University

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: 2008 election, gender, parenthood

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451344

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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