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Gender Gaps, Partisan Gaps, and Cross-Pressures: An Examination of American Attitudes toward the Use of Force

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2020

Michael A. Hansen
University of Wisconsin–Parkside
Jennifer L. Clemens
Central Michigan University
Kathleen Dolan
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee


This article explores the gender gap in attitudes toward the use of military force in the United States. Given that the United States has been continuously engaged in war for the last 17 years, we revisit the topic and explore whether a gender gap in attitudes persists by utilizing Cooperative Congressional Election Study data for 2006–16. In addition, given the primacy of partisanship to issue attitudes, we go beyond examining the gender gap to explore the impact of partisanship on these attitudes. We find that women are less likely than men to support the use of force in most circumstances. We also find gender gaps in the Democratic and Republican parties and acknowledge the diversity among women and among men in these attitudes because of partisan identity. Finally, we identify points of cross-pressure on individuals whose gender and partisan identities pull them in different directions, namely, Republican women and Democratic men.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Women, Gender, and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association

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The authors will share all replication material upon request. We would like to thank the editors of Politics & Gender, as well as the three anonymous reviewers, for their feedback and guidance



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