If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em: The Gender Gap in Individual Donations to Congressional Candidates

By Crespin, Michael H.; Deitz, Janna L. | Political Research Quarterly, September 2010 | Go to article overview

If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em: The Gender Gap in Individual Donations to Congressional Candidates


Crespin, Michael H., Deitz, Janna L., Political Research Quarterly


Abstract

The authors revisit the gender gap in campaign finance and find an advantage for women candidates in earning donations from individual donors due to the activities of female donor networks and the changing congressional donor pool. Women supported by these networks, especially Democratic women, receive a boost in campaign fundraising compared to their male counterparts, whereas women not supported by these networks receive significantly less. The ideological leanings of congressional donors also advantage Democratic women. Substantial partisan gender differences in this area of campaign finance persist, and this fund-raising gap may contribute to the growing partisan gender gap in Congress.

Keywords

American politics, women and politics, legislative studies

Gains in women's congressional representation have had a strong Democratic bias, and this partisan gap between Republican and Democratic congressional women is predicted to widen (Elder 2008). Explanations for this gap include a paucity of Republican women in the pipeline of state legislative office, a regional realignment that has led to the defeat of Republican representatives, and the high success levels of minority women who disproportionately run as Democrats (Elder 2008). Another possibility for this partisan gender gap may be differences in fundraising capabilities among these candidates. We find that real campaign finance differences between Democratic and Republican women exist, and these differences stem from the activities of female donor networks and the ideological leanings of individual donors in the congressional donor pool. Because networks and donors favor liberal Democratic women, campaign finance may help explain this partisan gender gap among women in Congress.

Individual donors to congressional races contribute slightly more than half of all campaign dollars (Herrnson 2004), and as such, these donors have a genuine opportunity to affect the electoral fortunes of candidates. Because money is a necessary condition for winning elections (Jacobson 1980), campaign fund-raising remains a focus of research examining the causes of women's underrepresentation in Congress (e.g., Burrell 2005; Fiber and Fox 2005). Work on gender bias in campaign fund-raising has concluded that men and women candidates raise the same amount of total campaign dollars (Uhlaner and Scholzman 1986; Burrell 1994).1 However, it is possible that these candidates are taking different paths to achieve this outcome, emphasizing different sources of campaign funds. Women candidates cite their reliance on individual donors as a central aspect of their fund-raising strategies (Witt, Paget, and Matthews 1994). Female donor networks, such as EMILY's List, WISH List, and the Susan B. Anthony List place a special emphasis on soliciting individual contributions from women and funneling those donations to women candidates. A primarily female donor base and a strong emphasis on contributing to women candidates characterize these donor networks. Yet aside from understanding the important role of these female donor networks in providing the seed money that makes the electoral success of women congressional challengers possible (Francia 2001), we know relatively little about the way in which individual contributions, especially those that are bundled through such groups, have redefined the gender gap in campaign finance.

We examine both the effect of female donor networks and the composition of the congressional donor pool on the fund-raising efforts of women candidates and find that when female donor networks support women candidates, they have a substantial advantage in raising funds from individual donors. In addition, recent changes in the congressional donor pool (Francia et al. 2003) have created a fund-raising environment that benefits women candidates. However, this gender gap differs appreciably by party: active female donor networks and the ideology of the congressional donor pool create greater advantages for Democratic women than Republican women in raising individual donations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em: The Gender Gap in Individual Donations to Congressional Candidates
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.