With the primary elections coming to an end and general elections approaching, political candidates pay more attention to groups who are more likely to vote. According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), female adults have voted far more than male adults since 1980. The gender gap in voter turnout has been increasing since the 1980’s with a ten percentage gender gap in 1996. In this article, we will take a closer examination of voter turnout among women.
An exit poll found that women were 53% and men were 47% of the electorate in 2008; 54% of women and 46% men in 2004; and 52% and 48% in 2000, respectively. Within the last decade, we see women voting anywhere from four to eight percentage points more than men.
Some suspect the cause for the increase of female voters in the recent years might just be more and more young women heading to the polls. According to an article by the Pew Center, the youth consisted of 55% women from the age 18 to 29, and 30 to 44. Not only do young women vote in higher rates, they are heavily democratic compared to their male counterparts. The Pew Center found that in 2008, 63% of young women identify with or lean towards the Democratic Party and only 28% who identify with or learn towards the Republican Party, and 54% and 36% in 2004, respectively.
Not only has there been an increase in voter turnout, but studies have shown that women are more likely to vote for Democratic presidential candidates since 1992. In 2008, 56% of women voted for President Barack Obama (D) compared to 49% of men who voted for him. In the same presidential election, John McCain (R) had 43% of women and 48% of men who voted for him. In 2004, 51% of women and 41% of men voted for John Kerry (D), and 48% and 55% voted for President George W. Bush (R), respectively.
Women overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008, and women as a group played a significant role in Obama’s presidential victory.
With a majority of the electorate being women, the candidate that wins the vote of the women will certainly have an advantage. In 2000, 7.8 million women voted more than men, and in 2004, the polls showed similar results. There are also more women registered to vote compared to men with 68.7 million women were registered to vote and 59.4 million men in 2004. A gender gap certainly exists when it comes down to who votes and who doesn’t vote.