If Only White Men Voted, A Lot Of Us Would Be In Trouble
In the New York Times, Michael Sokolove has a piece detailing how the gender gap in voting is really the white male gap. He actually calls it the white male problem. Why? Because if only white men voted, we’d be in trouble.
The U.S. gender gap has been the subject of a trove of academic research. The findings, generally, are not flattering to men. Women tend to cast votes based on what they perceive as the overall benefit to the nation and their communities. Men are more self-interested.
Women in Europe and other Western democracies are also more likely to vote for left-leaning candidates, but the gender gaps tend to be more modest for the issues that divide America’s political parties — and sexes — are not as contested in places like England. Social welfare programs, public health care, abortion and guns are not really up for debate.
If Only White Men Voted
We’d have a Senator Roy Moore representing Alabama, where 72 percent of the state’s white male voters (and 63 percent of the white women) cast their ballot for a man who was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl — and who faced sexual misconduct allegations from multiple other women related to incidents they said occurred when they were underage. (He has denied the accusations.)
We’d likely have a Senator David Duke from Louisiana. The entire U.S. Senate would look far different — with Democratic senators from just a handful of the bluest states. And there would never have been a President Barack Obama.
White Men Love Trump
The most recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College shows 48 percent of men backing the re-election of Mr. Trump, compared to 42 percent backing Joe Biden. For women, it’s 35 percent for Mr. Trump, and 58 percent for Mr. Biden.
Broken down by race, the latest poll from Pew Research has Mr. Trump leading Mr. Biden among white men by a 12-percentage-point margin — 53 percent to 41 percent.
Gender Gap Emerged With Reagan
When Ronald Reagan defeated the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, in the 1980 presidential election, exit polls showed that women favored him by a slim 2-percentage-point margin but that he won the male vote 55 to 36 percent. The last time the gender gap was that big was the 1950s, but at that point — and traditionally — it was women who were the more conservative voters, which was largely attributed to their greater religiosity.
Polling is consistent that women are more likely to favor government spending on social issues, and that is likely one reason the gender gap emerged in 1980. Reagan exacerbated this gap by campaigning aggressively to starve big government and shrink generous social programs, railing against “welfare queens” at a time when women, many of them poor, were increasingly heads of single-parent households. He fell in line with the Republican Party’s strong anti-abortion stance, even though he had signed liberal abortion legislation as governor of California.
Democrats and Republicans
Rather than men and women having changed their ways of thinking over the past several decades, perhaps the two major parties have basically branded themselves by gender, as well as by race. The hundreds of million of dollars spent each election cycle to “energize the base” serve to herd voters into their respective tents. Once inside, they hear messages that reaffirm and cement their party identity.
The Republican Party is for white men and people who think like white men. The Democratic Party is the party for women and for people of color, who are even more dependable Democrats than women.
What If College Educated White Men Voted Like Dems?
It is also, increasingly, the party of the college educated: In a late September Washington Post-ABC News poll, Trump led Biden by a modest 8 points among white men with a college degree, but by a whopping 39 points among white men without a college degree. In other words, white college-educated men are beginning to vote more like women and people of color. These demographics may increasingly unite to head off the most extreme manifestations of the white male vote.
Non-White Gender Gap
Even among minority voters, however, there is a gender gap. A Pew poll in early October showed that just 6 percent of Black women support Mr. Trump; for Black men, it was 11 percent. There was a bigger gap between Hispanic men and women: 23 percent of women were for Mr. Trump, and 35 percent of men.
The Year When We Say White Men Voted For Yet Could Not Save Trump
Mr. Trump has widened just about every pre-existing divide in America, and it is hard to imagine a candidate better suited to turn the gender gap into a canyon. His boorish tone, inability to express empathy and unwillingness to admit mistakes are not qualities that most women find attractive.
The president clearly knows he is struggling with women. His deficit with them is amplified by another kind of gap: Women consistently turn out to vote in higher numbers than men, by an average of about 4 percentage points.
Anything could happen between now and Nov. 3, but Mr. Trump might be fading so fast and hard that Mr. Biden could win the male vote — though not the white male vote.