Should Women Win More Often than Men? The Roots of Electoral Success and Gender Bias in U.S. House Elections
40 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2013 Last revised: 29 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 29, 2013
Extensive research shows that when women run for Congress, they win as often as men. We find that these gender neutral electoral outcomes mask important differences between men’s and women’s candidacies. Analyzing new data on non-incumbent candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1984 to 2010, we show that women in both parties are more qualified than men. In addition, Democratic women raise more money and run in more politically favorable districts than their male counterparts do, enhancing their viability and chances of success. When these advantages are included in multivariate models predicting victory, Democratic women are actually somewhat less likely to win than Democratic men. Republican women, by contrast, have fewer advantages than Democratic women, and they are less likely to win than men at the bivariate level and in models that include their advantages and disadvantages as multivariate controls, revealing important partisan differences in women’s candidacies.
Keywords: Women in politics, congressional elections, American politics, gender politics
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