Male voters currently prefer Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by an eight-percentage-point margin, while female voters prefer Obama over Romney by an identical eight points. These gender-gap figures, based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted July 30-Aug. 19, are virtually identical to what they were four months ago.
The impact of gender on the presidential race has received a renewed focus in recent days after Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments about rape and abortion. It’s too early to tell if this incident and the resulting fallout will have a long-term impact on the presidential gender gap, but from a broad perspective, Gallup’s large sample sizes show a remarkable stability by gender since tracking began in mid-April.
The gender gap is driven mostly by the underlying differences in party identification. Women are more likely to identify as Democrats and less likely to identify as independents than are men. Within party groups, gender gaps are quite small.
This is not really a surprise since a gender gap has been known to exist for some time.
But, will the Todd Akin flap about legitimate rape flip a few more women to the Democrats. It remains to be seen and Akin could still quit the race – and the GOP will do what it can to force him out.
The gender gap in presidential preferences has not changed over the last four months, with men preferring Romney over Obama by eight points, while women prefer Obama by an identical margin.
The nature of the gender gap varies significantly across demographic segments. Support for Obama is so strong among black voters that gender makes little difference, but both white and Hispanic women are more likely to support Obama than are men in each of these groups. Women are more strongly for Obama than are men across all age groups, and the gender gap is starkly evident among voters with postgraduate education.
All in all, women, those under 30, those with postgraduate education, and those who are black and Hispanic give Obama his strongest support. Conversely, Romney receives his strongest support among men who have college degrees but no postgraduate education, and among older and white men.