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Voting Cues in Low-Information Elections: Candidate Gender as a Social Information Variable in Contemporary United States Elections

Monika L. McDermott
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 1997), pp. 270-283
DOI: 10.2307/2111716
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111716
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Voting Cues in Low-Information Elections: Candidate Gender as a Social Information Variable in Contemporary United States Elections
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Abstract

Theories of low-information voting are used to examine the effect of candidate demographic characteristics on voting behavior, specifically candidate gender. For voters in low-information elections, candidate gender operates as a social information cue signaling that women candidates are more liberal than men candidates of the same party. As a result, the gender of a candidate affects ideological voting. Logistic regression analysis is performed on data from the 1986 through 1994 American National Election Studies. Women Democratic candidates fare better than men Democratic candidates among more liberal voters and worse among conservative voters, especially those with minimal knowledge of the candidates. The effect is less clear with Republican women candidates who provide conflicting informational cues (woman and Republican).

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