The Gender Gap and its Effect on Presidential Campaigns and Political Ads

Posted: 29 Mar 2010

See all articles by Tina Ruggeiro

Tina Ruggeiro

Dominican University of California

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Beginning with a discussion of the gender gap and its relevance to political campaigns, this thesis explores how presidential candidates target women voters in their political ads. I am anticipating that the candidate who includes more women's issues in his political ads will win the majority of the female vote in the election. I used the 2008 presidential campaign ads as my data, focusing on the two major party candidates: John McCain and Barack Obama. This thesis shows that there is a tie between issues that a candidate does or does not include in his or her ads and the way women vote. The first portion focuses on examining the gender gap in the American electorate. The second portion covers the literature that is in existence on the habits of the female vote and how this has come to be. Next, I address what this means for presidential election campaigns. In the fourth section I focus on where the literature is moving and where to take it from here. In section five I examine the methods and findings of my own study on issues and political ads. In the sixth section I discuss how this information could create leads for similar types of expanded research and finally, a discussion of what this means for candidates and campaign strategy as far as political ads will be explored.

Suggested Citation

Ruggeiro, Tina, The Gender Gap and its Effect on Presidential Campaigns and Political Ads. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN:

Tina Ruggeiro (Contact Author)

Dominican University of California ( email )

United States

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