Although commentary on the ‘gender gap’ is a staple of political discourse in the United States, most analyses of the dynamics of presidential approval have ignored possible gender differences in the forces driving approval ratings of US presidents. This article analyses gender differences in the impact of economic evaluations and political interventions on the dynamics of presidential approval between 1978 and 1997. The analyses are made possible by disaggregating 240 monthly Survey of Consumers datasets gathered over this period. These data show that women's economic evaluations are consistently more pessimistic than men's, regardless of who occupied the Oval Office. Analyses of rival presidential approval models reveal that a national prospective economic evaluation model performs best for women, but a personal prospective model works best for men. Parameter estimates indicate that economic evaluations accounted for substantial proportions of gender differences in presidential approval in the post-Carter era. Men and women also reacted differently to presidential transitions, with approval increasing more among men when Reagan replaced Carter, and more among women when Clinton replaced Bush. The hypothesis that men are more susceptible than women to rally effects induced by domestic and international crises and wars does not receive consistent support.