chapter  5
13 Pages

Party Images and Sex

We are all familiar with the term “gender gap.” It seems that every time an election comes along, especially a presidential election, the media is suddenly awash with talking heads expounding on the gender gap. In case anyone has somehow managed to escape these discussions, the term “gender gap” refers to the difference between women and men in some form of electoral behavior-usually vote choice and party identification, but in some cases other behaviors, such as voter turnout, as well. This chapter will focus solely on vote choice and partisanship. In almost all instances where it is used, the gender gap is presented as the result of women behaving differently from men (although it could just as easily be the other way around with the same result),1 and contemporary political commentators spend an inordinate amount of time discussing how women are behaving differently from men, and the implications of these behavioral differences.