Votes for Women: The Impact of Gender on Vote Choice

Rachel Spodek Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Greg Shufeldt Butler University
There are two major schools of thought on determination of vote choice. One body of literature indicates that gender stereotypes have a profound impact on vote choice. Conversely, others assert that it is political party alignment and ideology that has the most impact. I hypothesize that despite qualifications, gender stereotypes, and partisanship, political party is still the best indicator for vote choice, and voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who shares their political party, regardless of gender. However, I also hypothesize that conservative men would not vote for a female candidate, regardless of her qualifications or party. To test this, I developed a four-part split-sample question to be included in an online survey that included four hypothetical election scenarios between a hypothetical male candidate and a hypothetical female candidate. I first determined whether or not a voter would cross over party lines and vote for the candidate of the opposing party. Then, for the second hypothesis, I specifically compared the responses of conservative men to the rest of the population. I determined that candidate qualifications matter to the majority of the population, but party affiliation remains the most important factor in determining vote choice for conservative men. Understanding what might cause party crossover is helpful in predicting and understanding election outcomes, and understanding what might cause constituents to vote for women is critical so that our representation may better reflect the demographics of our population.
Political Science
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Jordan Hall 172