American Politics & Public Policy Workshop: Marc Meredith, UPenn
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Abstract: The tendency of men to identify more with the Republican Party and less with the Democratic Party than women is a fixture of modern American politics. In contrast to much of the previous literature, we argue that this partisan gender gap emerged because of long-standing ideological differences between men and women, which became more relevant to party choices when the parties ideologically polarized. Those with more political knowledge are more likely to have noticed this polarization and adjusted their partisanship accordingly. In support, we use a large new dataset of pooled individual-level Gallup polling data to find that the partisan gender gap emerged earlier, and is consistently larger, among the highly educated. We also use American National Election Studies data to show that, while ideological differences between men and women are roughly consistent across education levels, the highly educated detected party ideological polarization earlier and more strongly.