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Margie Omero Headshot

Women's Enthusiasm Rebounds, But They're Still Not Voting for the Grizzlies

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Recent polling shows women not voting for the so-called "Mama Grizzlies," and other Republican women candidates are no more likely to benefit from a gender gap than Democratic women candidates. In fact, the largest gaps in Democratic performance come in races where both candidates are women (the Oklahoma and New Mexico Governor's races). And Senator Murray and Alex Sink benefit from strong advantages among women, far more than Grizzlies Angle, Haley, or O'Donnell.

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But just to make sure this isn't solely due to gender differences in party identification, we went to the crosstabs. Not many outlets release their party/gender crosstabs, but here's what we found from recent polls.

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Boxer, Brown, and Sink don't just lead with women, they also run further ahead of Democratic performance with women than with men. That Boxer and Brown have women opponents seems to do little to mitigate this pattern. Senator Reid, while he runs ahead with women overall, he runs a bit behind Democratic performance with women, suggesting Angle may have some advantages with women (at least in that survey).

Not only are women giving Democrats the advantage in races around the country, but the enthusiasm gap has shown some signs of dissipating. Gallup's combined September dataset showed only 28% of women enthusiastic about voting, compared to 41% of men. But the crosstabs showed the enthusiasm gap larger between Republican men and women than among Democratic men and women. And now new polling from Democracy Corps shows the enthusiasm gap disappears overall, with Democratic women perhaps a bit more enthusiastic than Democratic men.

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Taken together, these numbers suggest stronger Democratic candidates can probably thank women if they overperform party tendencies. And Republican women candidates cannot rely on gender alone to put them over the edge. As far as enthusiasm goes, it's possible women have become more engaged in recent weeks as Democrats have increased efforts to reach them. But recent polling showing women giving Republicans the advantage suggests there's still quite a bit of work left to do.