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American Party Women Redux: Stability in Partisan Gender Gaps

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 March 2021

Tiffany D. Barnes
University of Kentucky
Victoria D. Beall
University of Kentucky
Erin C. Cassese
University of Delaware


Recent research in American politics demonstrates that despite gender-based partisan sorting, gender gaps in policy preferences persist within political parties—particularly among Republicans. Republican women report significantly more moderate views than their male counterparts across a range of policy areas. These gaps are largely attributable to gender differences in beliefs about the appropriate scope of government and attitudes toward gender-based inequality. Arguably, gender has become a more salient feature of American elections in recent years, and this heightened salience raises questions about whether these within-party gender gaps are stable over time or vary across campaign contexts. We use survey data from the 2012 and 2016 American National Election Study to evaluate whether gender gaps in policy preferences are stable across elections or if the 2016 election context affected the magnitude of gender differences in policy preferences. We find that gender gaps in policy preferences within political parties are fairly stable across the two electoral periods.

© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

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