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The Changing Politics of American Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap

Karen M. Kaufmann and John R. Petrocik
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 43, No. 3 (Jul., 1999), pp. 864-887
DOI: 10.2307/2991838
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991838
Page Count: 24
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The Changing Politics of American Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap
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Abstract

We analyze male-female differences in partisanship and presidential voting between 1952 and 1996 to show that the gender gap is a product of the changing partisanship of men. We then focus on the 1992 and 1996 elections to explore two hypotheses about its sources. The Attitude Hypothesis proposes that the gender gap results from underlying gender differences in policy attitudes, and the Salience Hypothesis suggests that the gap results from the different weights men and women apply to their attitudes when making political decisions. This analysis uses logistic regression to estimate the relative contribution of attitude and salience differences to the overall gap in voting and party identification. It finds that both attitude differences and differential salience play a role, although the magnitude of their effects differ in 1996 from what is observed in 1992. In addition, the results suggest that differences in social welfare opinions may be the predominant contributor to the gender gap.

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