The campaigns are desperate to know what makes women voters tick, but much political thinking is still marred by gross misconceptions about the key group. MSNBC lists the most egregious:
- Women are a homogenous voting bloc. Not only do they not share a common geography, attitude or philosophy, but even categories like “soccer mom” and “security mom” fail to accurately capture the groups they describe.
- Women vote less often. While unmarried females vote less than their married counterparts, women vote more often than men.
- Women favor female candidates. The so-called “affinity effect” is the most persistent misconception about women voters, but analysis of congressional races shows women care more about party affiliation than gender.
- The "gender gap" is growing. Identified when women preferred Bill Clinton to Bob Dole by a dozen points. Polls suggest it will shrink, even to zero, in this race.
- Women drive the gender gap. In fact, men have been getting more conservative over the past 25 years.
- Women only care about “women’s issues.” Men and women generally care about the same issues—Iraq in ’04, the economy today.