Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Gender Gap: Wider Than Ever

The gender gap -- the difference in support for a candidate among women and men -- has long favored Democratic presidential candidates.

Even so, Barack Obama's advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.

Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters and Rick Santorum by 26 points (61% to 35%) in the Pew Research Center's most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11. Obama runs about even with Romney among men and leads Santorum.

Just as women have been more likely to vote Democratic in presidential elections, a higher percentage also identifies with or leans toward the Democratic Party. In surveys this year, 52% of women identify with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, compared with 43% of men.

This figure is in line with the gender gap in party identification dating back to 1990. In 2008, 56% of women and 46% of men identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic. There are several clusters of issues on which men and women divide, including social issues, views of government and its role, energy and the environment, and foreign policy and national security.

Read the full report for a detailed analysis of gender differences in politics.

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