Growing gender gap
Will gender determine our next president?
They’re chasing down voters like poachers chase lions in the Serengeti: guns poised, machete at their hip for backup. Feeling empowered, yet squirming at the thought of the powerful lions ripping their throats out with one leap or bound.
The power between the presidential candidates and the voting public is just as unbalanced as lions and hunters. This year, the imbalance is taken to another level as the gender gap between candidates is spread even further — nearing a historical high.
The voting phenomenon called the “gender gap” made its first big splash during the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, as pollsters and data analyzers marveled at the difference in each genders’ voting habits and decisions. Even though both genders favored Reagan over his opponent Jimmy Carter, Reagan received +19 points among male voters and only +2 points among female voters, offering a sky-high +17-point gender gap.
Now, as President Barack Obama clocks in with a +9-point advance among female voters and Gov. Mitt Romney reaches a +9-point lead among male voters, this election’s gender gap soars at +18 points — the second-highest gap since George W. Bush battled Al Gore in 2000.
High, candidate-separate gender gaps such as these can throw pollsters and election-predictors for a loop, making the election much more difficult to call.
The New York Times political columnist Nate Silver said “President Obama would be on track for a landslide re-election,” if more women would step up to the voting booth, and that our Mr. President would be basking in the glory of being ‘an overwhelming favorite in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and most every other place that is conventionally considered a swing state.’
But that’s not to say that ladies’ votes are going to lend Obama a definite iron fist at the ballot boxes. Silver said if higher populations of men voted, Romney would simply be counting down the seconds before serving up a hot and tasty crushing defeat to Obama.
Also, if more males would step up to the voting booth Mitt Romney-style, the gender gap would make only California, Illinois, Hawaii and a few states in the Northeast clearly Democratic. The rest? Red, red, red, along with only a few others that would possibly be toss-ups.
So what are you waiting for? For the gender gap to get even higher and for male and female voters to continually head-butt each other until Nov. 6 finally rolls around? Regardless of your sex, regardless of which candidate you support, get out there and do your thing at the ballots.
Fill in the bubbles, rock the vote and then do a little happy dance for doing your part as a citizen and as an educated electorate. Do it. Do it now.
The freedom to choose which candidate I believe best suits my interests and the interests of this country is something I treasure, and will treasure until I’m too old and feeble to hold a pen and vote. And by the way, it’s something you should treasure too, ladies and gentlemen.
Chloe Rambo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org