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A woman casts her ballot during early voting October 1, 2008 in Toledo, Ohio.
White males have long been a bellwether when it comes to the perception of how America votes, but toss in the simple twist of gender and the situation becomes much more complicated… and nuanced.
Research into the voting habits of women has provided some data that flies in the face of assumptions about voting. In fact, the lauded white male proves to be a far more fickle creature than expected once in the voting booth. Some of the research pins the shift on Ronald Reagan, whose hawkish stance and fiscal policies resonated with much of the white guy demographic, causing them to a shift to the political right while women stayed largely the same. Research has also indicated that when women shift their positions to one party or the other, men tend to follow suit, but much more dramatically. So who’s moody now?
What issues make women vote one way or the other? What can candidates do to court the female vote?
Debbie Walsh, director, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University