Gender Gap or Marriage Gap?
Interesting article by Jacoby
:For decades, writes O'Beirne, feminists have been brandishing the gender gap. Eleanor Smeal, a former president of the National Organization for Women, published a triumphant book about it in 1984: ''Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President." But on Election Day that November, Democrat Walter Mondale was flattened by Ronald Reagan's 49-state landslide, despite Mondale's historic choice of a female running mate, New York congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro. Reagan won 62 percent of the male vote and 56 percent of the female vote -- a six-point gender gap, but probably not what Smeal had in mind.
Of the last seven presidential elections, Republicans have won five -- three times with more women's votes than the Democrats. For all the rhetoric about the mighty gender gap -- Democratic strategist Ann Lewis once called it ''the Grand Canyon of American politics" -- Republicans seem to bridge it without difficulty.
That's because women aren't monolithic voters, as O'Beirne emphasizes, and they don't march in lockstep to the beat of liberal drums. The best evidence of that is the electoral gap that really does matter in American politics -- the gap separating married women from those who are single.
Unlike the gender gap, there is nothing illusory about the marriage gap. Married women are more likely to vote Republican; unmarried women are more likely to vote Democratic. In the most recent presidential election, unmarried women voted for John Kerry by a 25-point margin, while President Bush won the votes of married women by an 11-point margin -- a marriage gap of 36 points.
''Want to know which candidate a woman is likely to support for president?" asked USA Today in 2004, as the Kerry-Bush race was heading into the home stretch. ''Look at her ring finger."
I also note that the Gender Gap is always portrayed as an advantage to the Democrats, even though there is an even larger gap between men, who vote disproportionately for the Republicans. Nobody ever wonders what the Democrats have to do to attract male voters, while there seems an endless number of columns speculating on what the Republicans have to do to attract women. Based on this article the answer seems clear; get them married!
Warren Farrell mentioned in one of his books that when he was working as a feminist (the lone male member of the board of NOW), he discovered that the group of people most opposed to feminist plans for affirmative action for women in the workplace were the wives of executives, who quite rightly realized that any gains for women would inevitably come at the expense of their husbands (and by extension, themselves).