Political Partisanship and Voting for Women Article Questions For this assignment you need to read the research article that is above this assignment box.

Political Partisanship and Voting for Women Article Questions For this assignment you need to read the research article that is above this assignment box. After reading the article answer the following questions. You can number your answers and do not need to have a cover sheet, an introduction or a conclusion-just answer the questions. If you use material from the article (which you should!) put a page number from the article after you answer. For example (22) is enough for the page number. This project is in place of an exam so be thorough. All of the answers, like everything else in this class, must be your own work. Do NOT copy from the article-put all of the answers in your own words.


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What question being studied in this article?
What are the hypotheses?
What are the independent variable(s)?
What are the dependent variable(s)?
How were the variables operationalized?
Did the article find a correlation between the variables? If so, what was it?
Is this a quantitative or qualitative study?
Was this a case study, survey, experiment or quasi-experiment?
What were the conclusions of the study?
Were there any limitations in the study?
Were there any ethical concerns in the study? American Association for Public Opinion Research
Identity Politics, Partisanship, and Voting for Women Candidates
Author(s): Eric Plutzer and John F. Zipp
Source: The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 30-57
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for Public
Opinion Research
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Abstract In 1992 a record 14 women sought statewide office by
running “as women” and as representatives of women. In this
article we examine whether their appeals led to widespread voting on the basis of gender identity. We find evidence that the sex
of the voter is significantly related to voting for female candidates
in eight of 13 states, and among partisans of both parties as well
as Independents. Further, we find that these effects are amplified
by Democratic female candidates who are rated as most feminist,
and that this is especially the case for those with no partisan
I am running as a reform candidate, as an anti-incumbent
and as a woman. (JEAN LLOYD JONES, U.S. Senate candidate
in Iowa, quoted in the Des Moines Register, July 19, 1992)
I think it’s about time we voted for senators with breasts.
After all, we’ve been voting for boobs long enough. (CLAIRE
SARGENT, U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona, quoted in the
Washington Post, September 24, 1992)
I’ve watched women come into politics thinking they had to
become a man to succeed. What I am is a different role
model. This mom in tennis shoes is what I really am. (PATTY
MURRAY, U.S. Senate candidate in the state of Washington,
quoted in the New York Times, September 17, 1992)
ERIC PLUTZER is associate professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University
and JOHN F. ziPP is associate professor of sociology and urban studies at University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The authors thank Michael Guge, Theresa Wilson, and Robert
Young for their research assistance. The data used in this article were originally collected
by Voter Research and Surveys and distributed by the Inter-University Consortium for
Political and Social Research, neither of which bears any responsibility for the analyses
and interpretations reported here. Additional sampling information was provided by
Voter News Service, and we thank Barbara Buxbaum and Murray Edelman for making
this information available to us. Michael Berkman and Sue Tolleson Rinehart provided
helpful comments on earlier drafts.
Public Opinion Quarterly Volume 60:30-57 ? 1996 by the American Association for Public Opinion Research
All rights reserved. 0033-362X/96/6001-0003$02.50
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Gender Identity and Voting for Women Candidates 31
A central component of explaining electoral behavior in all democra-
cies is political partisanship. In the United States, however, with the
overriding importance of the presidency and with its loosely organized,
brokerage-style parties, there has been a conflict between voting on
the basis of partisan affiliations and voting for the candidate (Wattenberg 1994). One special case of this is “identity politics”: political
allegiances formed on the basis of some demographic similarity. Perhaps the most well-known example of identity politics occurred in
1960. Although John F. Kennedy won the support of approximately
80 percent of Catholic voters, he “lost” enough of the much larger
Protestant vote to produce a net loss-nearly costing him the presidency (see Sears 1968, pp. 345-48).
In such instances, there is a tension between partisan politics and
identity politics. However, these typically involved a single politician
and did not represent a broad-based feature of the American electoral
system. Because few ethnic, religious, or racial groups have been able
to work effectively outside of partisan coalitions, few candidates have
run for major office principally as a Catholic, an Italian, or member of
any other group. Although the latter is possible when contesting offices
in small homogeneous districts, it traditionally has been considered
impractical for statewide or national office.
The 1992 election was unusual for just this reason. A then-record
14 women ran for governor or U.S. senator, and many made their
gender a salient aspect of their candidacies. Preliminary research suggests that these appeals may have been somewhat successful, as there
is evidence of widespread partisan defections in order to vote for somebody of like sex (Cook 1994). Given the increasing numbers of women
running for statewide office and the higher turnout rates of women
voters, the existence of identity politics represents a threat to the current party system and may play a pivotal role in deciding electoral
The purpose of this article is to examine this tension between parti-
san and identity politics by analyzing data from 14 statewide races in
which a woman was the candidate of one of the two major parties.
This latest “Year of the Woman” not only includes a wide variety of
candidates but also has three other features that made gender salient,
making 1992 especially relevant to testing this contest between partisan
and identity politics. First, the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings
focused attention on gender inequities in the workplace (e.g., sexual
harassment) and in political representation (e.g., his confirmation by
an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee). Second, partially as a re-
sponse to this, for the first time in U.S. electoral history, a number of
the women candidates for major office based their campaigns centrally
around their “identity” as women. And finally, as made evident in
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32 Eric Plutzer and John F. Zipp
their convention, the Republican Party strongly emphasized traditional
family values. Combined, these created a situation in which some voters (e.g., socially liberal Republican women, socially conservative
Democratic men) might be especially likely to desert their party for
their (gender) identity.
Women as Candidates in the United States
In the past 2 decades, there have been at least three “years of the
woman” (Freeman 1993). The first, 1972, occurred when large numbers of women sought election to state legislatures. In 1982, a record
five women sought statewide office and comparatively large numbers
sought election to the House of Representatives. Finally, in the most
recent “year,” 14 women ran for statewide office on the tickets of a
major party.
This growth in the number of women candidates for major political
office has resulted in increased research attention being devoted to the
study of women and politics (recent books include Cook, Thomas, and
Wilcox 1994; Darcy, Welch, and Clark 1994; Tolleson Rinehart 1992;
Witt, Paget, and Mathews 1994). Simplifying somewhat, there are several reasonably firm findings. First, “years of the woman” tend to
occur when large numbers of open seats are created by nongendered
structural opportunities such as decennial redistricting (see, e.g., Burrell 1988). Second, women nominated for major office in the United
States face little or no electoral disadvantages compared to male candidates with similar political background (e.g., Burrell 1988; Darcy and
Schramm 1977; Newman 1994; Welch et al. 1985). Third, recently,
women have been more likely than men to vote for Democratic candidates-a “gender gap” typically estimated to be 4-10 percent (Bendyna and Lake 1994). Combined with women’s slightly higher rate of
voter turnout, the gender gap has become an important factor determining the outcome of close elections and a part of the political
Despite the consistency of the partisan gender gap, there has only
been limited research exploring the possibility that male and female
voters react differently to the opportunity to cast a vote for a woman.
In fact, the many studies showing that the electorate (in aggregate)
does not discriminate against women might blind analysts to the possibility that women tend to vote for women and men tend to vote against
The existence of this type of identity politics is important. First, if
women and men are not equally likely to cast votes on the basis of
gender identity, this could become the basis of an emerging key factor
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Gender Identity and Voting for Women Candidates 33
in close elections. Second, if Republican women defect from their
party to cast a vote for a woman running on the Democratic ticket,
gender would represent a potentially significant cross-cutting cleavage
running within the Republican Party. A similar split could occur if
Democratic men defected to avoid voting for a woman. Third, if identity voting is more helpful to Democratic women than those running
as Republicans (Cook [1994] suggests this is possible), then identity
politics could merely be the preface to a gender-based shift in the
alignment of the American party system.
Based on the previous literature, we can offer five hypotheses about
how identity politics might manifest itself in U.S. elections.
Hypothesis 1. A gendered party system approach suggests that the
broader gender gap, in which men slightly favor the Republicans and
women the Democrats, also results in Democrats nominating more
women. In turn, voters support candidates of like sex but only because
of partisanship (Cook 1994; Schroedel and Snyder 1994).1 According
to this view, women are more likely to vote for women but only because of partisanship. After controlling for partisan identification,
there should be no relationship between sex and voting.
Hypothesis 2. The gender identity approach is based on Pomper’s
(1975) idea of the dependent voter who casts votes based on social
group membership. That is, gender identity is driven by feelings of
group solidarity. This leads to the prediction that men tend to vote for
men and women tend to vote for women. Because this is not spurious
due to the gender gap, it should be net of the effects of political parties
and should manifest itself in all elections regardless of the party affiliation of the woman seeking office. We emphasize that “gender identity”
is not the same as “feminist consciousness” (Tolleson Rinehart 1992).
In fact, gender identity among women could well occur at all points
in the political spectrum (for examples of gender identity on the right,
see Klatch [1985] and Luker [1984]).2
1. Since both studies were bivariate analyses that did not control for partisanship, we
take their conclusions as suggestive.
2. An alternative mechanism is more psychological. Huddy (1994, p. 181) suggests that
gender stereotyping by both men and women could account for gender differences in
support for female candidates. Gender differences in the likelihood of stereotyping
(Kahn 1994) combined with male tendency to devalue “feminine” traits (Huddy and
Terkildsen 1993) also could produce a relationship between sex of voter with support
for female candidates. Survey data available at the state level do not even begin to
provide the type of data necessary to explore stereotyping in a real election (as opposed
to simulated elections employed in research on stereotyping), so we cannot explore this
possibility in this article.
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Hypothesis 3. A party-dominance approach maintains that partisanship dwarfs gender in major U.S. elections. Gender identity plays a
significant role only among Independents and others without ties to
the major parties. Therefore, this hypothesis predicts gender effects
to be present only among voters who did not identify with either major
party (Zipp and Plutzer 1985).
Hypothesis 4. The feminist catalyst approach suggests that group
identity will be politicized only when the female candidate is easily
identified as a feminist. Only when they are perceived as “acting for,”
rather than merely “standing for,” women (Mezey 1994) will they
stimulate voting based on gender identity. This hypothesis has opposite predictions for the voting behavior of women and men. On the
one hand, women will not go out of their way to support female candidates unless they are clearly identifiable as feminist politicians. We
previously found some limited evidence for this in the 1982 elections,
but only among nonpartisan voters (see hypothesis 3).
In contrast, a feminist candidate may stimulate antiwoman voting
by men. In those cases, men will be less likely to vote for the woman
than would be predicted on the basis of partisanship and other established predictors such as race and economic position.
Hypothesis 5. Finally, it is possible that each of these dynamics may
operate differently across varying political contexts. In particular, the
cleavages within parties differ over time and from state to state. For
example, Bill Clinton’s victory in California is commonly attributed to
defections of moderate Republicans who had supported Pete Wilson
for governor but were dismayed by the social conservatism at the
Republican convention and in the George Bush-Dan Quayle campaign
(Apple 1992). Although Republicans in mountain, western, and sun
belt states like Arizona and Montana are generally more conservative,
those in northern states like Iowa and Pennsylvania tend to be more
moderate (Erikson, Wright, and McIver 1993). As the Republican
Party’s “center of gravity” has moved to the right (Berkman 1993),
Republicans in states with moderate traditions may feel alienated from
their party, thereby increasing the chance of defection.
For instance, consider the situation in which a female Democrat
runs against a male Republican in a state with a history of moderate
Republicanism but where the Republican Party recently has become
decidedly more conservative. The presence of a woman candidate may
serve as a stimulus that pushes women over the line separating party
loyalty from defection. The same process could operate in the opposite
direction among men who are conservative Democrats. Thus, we can
formulate a partisan context hypothesis that voting on the basis of
gender identity should be greatest among Democrats in states where
Democrats are especially conservative (e.g., the South), and among
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Gender Identity and Voting for Women Candidates 35
Republican identifiers in states where the Republicans tend to be moderate (e.g., rust belt states).
We explored hypotheses 1-4 directly in our analysis of the five
women who sought statewide office in 1982 (Zipp and Plutzer 1985).
We think our logic in examining statewide races remains reasonable:
such races are visible, and even candidates challenging powerful incumbents become well known (which is not true in many House races).
As a consequence, voting is less likely to be the result of coattails from
other elections. Our analyses supported a combination of hypotheses 3
and 4: self-identified Independent women showed a slight tendency to
vote for women candidates who were characterized as liberal. This
suggests that identity politics came into play only at the margins.
Methodological Considerations
Although our previous research is the most extensive on women seeking statewide office, it has serious limitations. The primary methodological weakness concerns the data. We used data from three different
sources, and it is impossible to rule out “house effects” of different polling organizations as accounting for the different patterns we
found in each state. In addition, our analysis of the Missouri Senate
election was based on a preelection poll, and the other election on
the same day (an important variable, as we will argue below) was a
low-salience contest (secretary of state).
Other shortcomings were a by-product of 1982 and are especially
evident in comparison to 1992. First, although 1982 was the second
“year of the woman,” only five women ran for statewide office and
all five lost their bids. It is possible that gender effects might be enhanced in elections with stronger women candidates.
Second, anecdotal evidence suggests that female candidates in 1992
were more likely than ever before (or since) to campaign as women.
Certainly, the conventional wisdom among pollsters and scholars during the 1980s was that successful women candidates had to walk a
fine line in projecting androgynous traits rather than appearing too
masculine or too feminine (Carroll 1985). Yet 1992 was different, as
candidates perceived a cultural shift. Political veteran Diane Feinstein
observed that “this is the first time I feel that running as a woman
isn’t a disadvantage” (Witt, Paget, and Mathews 1994, p. 12). This led
virtually every candidate explicitly to add gender to her projected im-
age and to raise the issue of women’s underrepresentation in government. Thus, findings based on other androgynous campaigns (prior to
1992 and in 1994; regarding the latter, see Mandel [1994]) may not be
comparable to an election in which gender was salient (i.e., 1992).
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36 Eric Plutzer and John F. Zipp
Third, 1982 involved relatively few voters: turnout was low because
it was a midterm election and three of the five contests were in relatively small states (Missouri, Iowa, and Vermont). In contrast, in 1992
voters from 13 states, accounting for 32 percent of the U.S. population,
had at least one woman on the ballot (nominated by a major party) for
statewide office. This “year of the woman” was a national news story.
Fourth, 1982 was an off-year election. Huddy and Jones (1993) argue
that nonvoters are more likely to hold gender stereotypes than voters.
Since turnout is higher in presidential election years, more stereotyping voters are likely to have participated in the 1992 elections than in
1982, 1990, or 1994. For these reasons, if identity politics along the
lines of gender is a phenomenon in U.S. politics, we should see evidence of it in 1992.
Data and Methods
To maximize comparability with previous research, we attempt to replicate the methodological strengths of our 1985 paper, while also improving on its weaknesses. Our first improvement concerns the data.
Unlike that early effort, we have data from 14 elections, all of which
were collected via exit polls from one source-the Voter Research
and Surveys (VRS) Consortium (Voter Research and Surveys 1993).
In all of our analyses we employed VRS-supplied weights to ensure
samples that are representative of all those casting votes in a particular
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