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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: January 2020

Chapter 3 - Explaining Women Voters


Consider the presidential elections of 1932 and 1980. These two contests occurred less than 50 years apart but represent distinctly different moments for the political fortunes of the major parties. The historic election of 1932 ushered in a new Democratic majority that would persist for decades. In that election, slightly fewer than 50% of eligible women turned out to vote, compared to three-quarters of men, a more than 25-point difference. Despite differences in turnout, both women and men gave a large majority of their votes to the political party that promised to work aggressively to alleviate the suffering of the Great Depression: 60% of women and 57% of men cast their ballots for Democrat Franklin Roosevelt.