Gender Gap Myths and Legends

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 19, 2004 | Go to article overview

Gender Gap Myths and Legends


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

To its political detriment over the past 20 years, the Democratic Party has wholeheartedly embraced the gender-gap subterfuge of the radical feminist movement, which, judging from its spokeswomen, rallies and Web sites, is essentially an all-white-women operation, many of whose primary goals have more to do with sexual orientation than gender. In the 2004 election, John Kerry got burned, despite help from his billionaire wife, whose official campaign biography describes her as "an advocate for women" who has been "at the forefront of women's issues for more than 30 years." If Mr. Kerry needs any solace, he can share a good cry with Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore, all of whom marched to feminism's Pied Piper.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the gender gap is defined as "the difference between the proportion of women and the proportion of men voting for the winning candidate." In his narrow 1976 victory, Jimmy Carter received 50 percent of the votes of both men and women. Thus, there was no gender gap. In 1980, however, exit polls revealed that Ronald Reagan, who defeated Mr. Carter by 10 points, received 55 percent of the men's vote and 47 percent of the women's vote. Thus was born the gender gap, which totaled eight points that year.

Ignoring the fact that Mr. Reagan actually won a plurality of the women's vote (47-45-7) in a race that included independent candidate John Anderson, National Organization for Women President Eleanor Smeal immediately began trumpeting the gender gap. In effect, she guaranteed the Democratic Party, which also lost the Senate in 1980, that it could regain total political dominance by exploiting the gender gap. In 1984, Mrs. Smeal even wrote a book: "Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President." Based on a separate study that she conducted for the party in early 1984, Mrs. Smeal guaranteed that the Democratic presidential candidates would receive a 10-point boost by selecting a female running mate. Well, Mr. Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro as his vice presidential candidate, and they were clobbered by President Reagan, receiving 17 million fewer votes and losing 49 states. The Mondale-Ferraro ticket also managed to lose the women's vote by 12 points (56-44). Amazingly, however, the delusional feminists still divined a silver lining from the electoral shellacking by identifying a gender gap of six points: Men gave Mr. Reagan 62 percent of their vote, six points more than women.

Four years later, Mrs. Smeal and the feminists were still peddling their theory that Democrats could find White House salvation through the gender gap. And for the third presidential election in a row, Republicans won the women's vote.

At last, in 1992, self-styled New Democrat Bill Clinton won the White House. In a three-way race, George H.W. Bush received 38 percent and 37 percent of the men's and women's vote, respectively. Mr. Clinton coasted to re-election in 1996, admittedly helped by a 16-point advantage among women. In 2000, however, George W. Bush won the election despite losing the women's vote by 11 points. In 2004, with women comprising 54 percent of the electorate and giving a 51-48 majority of their vote to Mr. Kerry, President Bush nonetheless won re-election by nearly 3.5 million votes. His secret? He crushed Mr. Kerry by 11 points (55-44) among men, obliterating the seven-point gender gap in the process.

Thus, in the last seven presidential campaigns (beginning with the 1980 election when the gender gap was first detected), Republicans have: 1) won five times; 2) lost twice; 3) received more women's votes in three of the elections than their Democratic counterparts got; and 4) won two other campaigns despite receiving fewer women's votes. Not bad for being on the wrong side of the gender gap.

Examining the gender phenomenon a bit closer, one cannot help but conclude that removing the racial component from the supposedly Democratic-favoring gender gap explains why the concept deserves to be so discredited. …

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