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Is the Gender Gap Killing Santorum?

[ 9 ] March 4, 2012 |

There’s a lot of speculation that Santorum’s emphasis on crackpot anti-contraception positions hurt him greatly among women, perhaps costing him the Michigan primary. The evidence for this is actually more mixed than you might expect. In the Michigan exit polls, Romney’s margin with women was 4 points higher than Santorum’s; consistent with the theory but basically within the margin of error for a typical exit poll, so it’s not really clear evidence of a substantial gender gap. In Arizona, however, Romney did three points better among men than women…and Santorum did six points better among women than men. So, on balance, the gender gap in the two primaries actually favored Santorum.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the conventional wisdom is wrong. One explanation for this is that the Arizona race was essentially uncontested, with little advertising, so Santroum starts with an edge among women but the more they find out about his views the less they like him. I think this is indeed part of the story. It is important to remember, however, how many conservative women find Rush Limbaugh’s worldview perfectly congenial. Santorum’s vies will obviously be unpopular among women as a whole, but women who vote in Republican primaries won’t necessarily be as hostile.

Comments (9)

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  1. DrDick says:

    Yeah, Stockholm Syndrome is strong in the conservative women.

    • StevenAttewell says:

      Precisely. It will kill him and the GOP among independent and Dem women tho.

      • DrDick says:

        Absolutely. I do not see much evidence that it is hurting him much among Republicans, though it may be nibbling away at the moderate fringe of the GOP (scary when moderates are a fringe group in a major political party).

  2. vacuumslayer says:

    Wingnut women place a great deal of stock in being able to feel superior to other women. And a lot them are REALLY into the “Novelty Woman” shtick. In other words, “Dudes. I’m cool… I’m like those other slutty/uppity/man-hating women.” They’ll do just about anything to get the approval of mysogynist men.

  3. c u n d gulag says:

    These are the same Conservative women, mind you, who revere Sarah “The Whore of Babblin’ On” Palin, who, when Governor, referred to her husband as “The First Dude,” as an intelligent, independent, and secure, woman of action!
    The ‘Female Alaskan Grizzly’ version of Margaret Thatcher.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but what I get from this, is that insecure women who don’t like themselves, marry insecure misogynistic men who don’t like women.

  4. Halloween Jack says:

    My theory is that, like Palin, the women who support Santorum are responding to his having a special needs child (and not exactly being shy about mentioning said child during the campaign). To a certain way of thinking, this trumps his endorsement of policies that hurt women in general.

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