Education, Party Polarization and the Origins of the Gender Gap in U.S. Party Identification
61 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
The partisan gender gap - the tendency of men to identify more with the Republican party and less with the Democratic party than women - is a fixture of modern American politics. A variety of often contradictory claims are made about why this partisan gender gap formed and persists. We test a number of these claims in a new dataset of individual-level responses to 1822 Gallup polls asking about gender and party identification from 1953 through 2012. We find that a gender gap emerged in the 1960s and 1970s among the highly educated, but not until the 1980s among the less educated. These differences in the partisan gender gap with respect to education do not appear to be driven primary by differences in the race, age, region of residence, income, employment status, or marital status of those with more and less amounts of education. Using ANES data, we find suggestive evidence that the gender gap emerged earlier among those with high amounts of education because the highly educated were more aware of the growing ideological polarization of the parties.
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