Women More Likely to Be Democrats, Regardless of Age
Women from 18 to 85 are more Democratic than men of the same ageby Frank Newport
PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup analysis of almost 150,000 interviews conducted from January through May of this year sheds new light on the substantial gender gap that exists in American politics today. Not only are women significantly more likely than men to identify as Democrats, and less likely to identify as independents, but -- with only slight variation -- this gap is evident across all ages, from 18 to 85, and within all major racial, ethnic, and marital-status segments of society.
A recent Gallup analysis confirmed the existence of a fundamental gender gap in American political party identification today, although the exact nature of that gap has varied over recent years. The major distinction in political party identification today seems to revolve around the percentage of each gender who identify as Democrats versus independents; men and women have been similar in terms of identification with the Republican Party this year.
In the current analysis of 149,192 Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviews conducted in January through May of this year, 41% of women identify as Democrats, some nine points higher than the 32% of men who identify as Democrats. The 34% of men in this sample who are independents can be contrasted with the smaller 26% of women who are independents. There is little difference by gender in terms of identification as Republicans -- 28% of men are Republicans, compared to 25% of women.
Overall, the data confirm that men currently have a much more even distribution of party identification than do women. The range across the three partisan groups for men is just 6 points, from a low of 28% identifying as Republicans to a high of 34% identifying as independents. On the other hand, the range for women is a much larger 16 points, from 25% Republican to 41% Democratic.
Although the existence of a gender gap in American politics has been well established, the very large sample sizes available with Gallup Poll Daily tracking allow for a more-detailed-than-normal examination of the nature of gender differences. The remarkable finding is that women of all ages are more Democratic in orientation than are men of the same ages, and that women of all ages are also less likely than men of the same ages to be independent. (The differences by age in the percentage identifying as Republican are much smaller.)
This means that whatever forces are at work that determine party identification in America today -- socialization, cultural patterns, social position, social status, and life orientation -- are already in place by the time young men and women reach the age of 18. And, these same patterns seem to have affected or are currently affecting men and women in their 80s in a similar fashion. The fact that the gender gap persists not only across age groups, but within major racial, ethnic, and marital-status groups reinforces the conclusion that a gender difference in political orientation is a fundamental part of today's American political and social scene.