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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Gender Gaps Versus “Mama Grizzlies”

At pollster.com, Margie Omero takes a fascinating look at the gender gaps in polls involving female candidates in some major races. There’s a lot going on in her charts, and thanks to the variable availability of crosstabs, she has to rely on polling data of variable reliability.
It’s clear, however, that by and large, all those “Mama Grizzly” Republican candidates aren’t exactly pulling women across the line. The two races with the largest gender gaps actually involve women running on both tickets, the OK and NM gubernatorial contests (unfortunately, dreadful performance among men has kept both Democrats from being competitive, though NM is much closer than OK). But there are also sizeable gender gaps in two races involving Democratic men and Republican women (the Senate races in NH and CT).
The female Republican candidates who do seem to be seriously appealing to women in a race against a man, creating an unusually small or even non-existent advantage for Democrats among women, are, surprisingly, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. Keeping in mind that this is a Rasmussen poll we are talking about, O’Donnell is actually running slightly better among women than among men, though she’s losing the former by 11 points and the latter by 12. The only Republican women in Omero’s analysis who are actually leading among women are Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin (who’s going to win very big because she’s leading among men by 50 points), and SC’s Nikki Haley (a favorite to win, but not by a lot), both by four point margins.
All in all, there’s not much evidence that the much-noted emergence of conservative women is having a big impact on women’s votes, though it is helping the GOP achieve some desperately needed diversity in the ranks of its candidates.

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