The Gender Gap Is a Race Gap: Women Voters in US Presidential Elections
By Jane Junn, University of Southern California, and Natalie Masouka, University of California Los Angeles
Scholarship on women voters in the United States has focused on the gender gap, showing that, since the 1980s, women are more likely to vote for Democratic Party candidates than men. The persistence of the gender gap has nurtured the conclusion that women are Democrats. This article presents evidence upending that conventional wisdom. It analyzes data from the American National Election Study to demonstrate that white women are the only group of female voters who support Republican Party candidates for president. They have done so by a majority in all but 2 of the last 18 elections. The relevance of race for partisan choice among women voters is estimated with data collected in 2008, 2012, and 2016, and the significance of being white is identified after accounting for political party identification and other predictors.