Can women candidates save the GOP?

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Can women candidates save the GOP?

Maybe not:

Since 1980, presidential campaigns have on average produced a 15-point gender gap. That is, the difference between Democrats’ advantage among women and Republicans’ advantage among men is generally 15 points. So, for example, Democrats win women by 8 points and Republicans win men by 7 points: 8+7=15.

… Now, using 15-17 points as the baseline gender gap, we looked at eight marquee Senate races between 2006 and 2012 in which Republican nominated a female candidate. According to exit polls and the last available pre-election polls (where exit polls were not available), the average gender gap for women in these eight races was … wait for it … about 15 points (14.5, to be exact).

John Sides isn’t so sure:

At least one piece of academic research offers a somewhat different conclusion. In a 2005 article entitled “Women for Women?,” political scientist Craig Brians examined voter behavior across 300 different House races from 1990-2002 in which female and male candidates squared off.

Brians found a modest tendency for female voters to support female candidates more than male candidates: 55 percent of women voted for the female candidate while 45 percent vote for the male candidate. Men’s votes were split 50-50.

Meanwhile, Marcotte notes the considerable challenges that female candidates of all parties candidates face:

After performing 45 interviews with experienced candidates and officeholders and holding multiple focus groups with other politicians and staff members, the [Institute for Women’s Policy Research] found that women had smaller networks than men to access for funding, faced sexist nonsense while campaigning, and had far less support on the homefront than male candidates, who can often depend on a wife who devotes herself to his career full time.

One thing the researchers did not find is that women lack ambition. “Ambition is not an issue or a deficit with these women,” Denise L. Baer and Heidi Hartmann, the study’s authors, write. “Most women self-recruited for their first office or campaign, and only one in four say others recruited them for their first office.”

Via Daily Dish.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.