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The Political Gaps

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Think for a moment about what you didn’t hear about in the recent election season. Something you were probably sick of hearing about in news coverage in every election for the past few decades. All about how Republicans don’t fare well with women voters. They called it the “gender gap.”

For years, it was put forward that Republicans were at a disadvantage among female voters largely due to the abortion issue. Those crazy Republicans’ pro-life tendencies were the cause of it all. If only the GOP would not allow those radical pro-lifers to run their party and stop being so intolerant and mean, then maybe women would flock to their cause.

Every election cycle we heard it again, but with a new twist. There was the “Year of the Woman” in ’92, and then “soccer moms” all through the late ‘90’s and 2000. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the 2004 election. The gender gap disappeared.

Well, sort of. I say sort of because the 2004 exit polls tell us that, if there is anything close to representing a “gender gap” in American politics today, it is the Democrats’ gender gap among men. That’s right, the “no testosterone” party is down among the Y chromosome crowd by a whopping 11 percent. Women, on the other hand, slightly favored the Democratic nominee, but only by 51 to 48 percent. And this year, men made up 51 percent of all votes cast.

This goes a long way towards explaining why you DON’T hear the predominantly liberal media talking about the “gender gap” any more…because it doesn’t cut against Republicans. That’s journalistic integrity for you.

But what about other gaps? There is the “abortion gap.” That’s the one that shows the difference in support for the two parties among voters based on their position on the abortion issue.

A post election poll conducted by Worthlin Worldwide demonstrated that pro-life candidates had a nearly two-to-one margin of support among the 42 percent of voters that said the abortion issue “affected how they voted.”

Further, eight percent of voters responded that abortion was “the most important issue” in determining who they voted for. Six percent went for Bush and two percent for Kerry – a pro-life advantage of four percentage points of total turnout. When you consider that the average election in America is won or lost by less than five percent of the vote, the importance of that number becomes pretty clear. (See Florida, 2000 and Ohio, 2004).

Want another? How about the “marriage gap”? This one’s a doozy. It shows that Kerry took un-married voters by 18 percent, but then lost among married voters by 15 percent – a 33 percent swing! Further, married voters outnumber un-marrieds by 63 to 37 percent.

Apparently, something happens to people when they get married that causes them to run from Democrats. Could it have something to do with liberal policies being perceived as less family friendly? Married people generally pay more in taxes, have a greater stake in the economy and are (rightfully so) more likely to have children. Probably as a result, they tend to do things like go to church more often and generally be concerned about the overall coarsening of our culture.

In fact, this was the third election in a row where (aside from the black vote) the most reliable statistical indicator of how an individual will vote was based on an affirmative answer to three questions: Are they married? Do they have kids? And do they attend church on a regular basis? A “yes” to all three puts you deep in GOP territory.

Then there’s the “ideology gap,” which showed equal percentages of liberals voted for Kerry as conservatives who voted for Bush, (85 percent), but that self-identified conservatives outnumber liberals 34 to 21 percent.

Last but not least, there’s the “values gap.” It seems that the voters who placed a premium on moral issues might have been partially responsible for some political pros’ misreading of the tea leaves in the run-up to the election. The responses to the pre-election polls regarding the overall direction of the country (the “right track/wrong track” question) had a majority of voters saying they felt the country was headed in the wrong direction.

The media wrongly assumed that that meant they were unhappy with the president. What it actually appears to have meant for many people was that they were unhappy with such things as gay marriage, abortion, activist judges and a host of other values related issues. When it came time to vote, they pulled the lever for W.

In fact, voters who based their vote on “moral issues” supported President Bush by better than 80 percent. Now that’s a gap.

Edited: LI

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About Drew McKissick

Drew McKissick is a political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience specializing in political strategy, planning and organization as well as the development of grassroots related political action programs. He has worked as a political activist at the local, state and national levels, and has served in elected and appointed positions at all levels of the Republican Party, including serving as a member of the Republican National Committee. He also writes a regular column providing analysis and commentary on current events.