Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published June 1998 | public
Journal Article

Explaining the Gender Gap in U. S. Presidential Elections, 1980-1992


This article compares the voting behavior of women and men in presidential elections since 1980. We test whether the different levels of salience which men and women attribute to different issues or the different preferences men and women have on issues best accounts for the gender gap. Utilizing theories of different issue emphasis between men and women, we use a multivariate model to demonstrate that a combination of respondent views on the economy, social programs, military action, abortion, and ideology can consistently explain at least three-fourths of the gender gap in the 1984, 1988, and 1992 elections. We show that, consistent with prior research on individual elections, women placed more emphasis on the national economy than men, and men placed more emphasis on pocketbook voting than women. We add evidence showing that women have consistently more negative assessments of the economy than do men, suggesting that a part of what has been considered a Re- publican-Democratic gender gap is really an anti-incumbent bias on the part of women. We also clarify the interpretation of partisan identification in explaining the gender gap.

Additional Information

© 1998 University of Utah. Received:August 19, 1996; Accepted: December 2, 1997. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 1996 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 1996. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grants SBR-9413939 and SBR-9709214 to Nagler and SBR-9709327 to Alvarez. Formerly SSWP 979.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 23, 2023