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October 24, 2012
The Gender Gap and the Women's Vote in 2012:
Setting the Record Straight

CAWP Women's Vote Watch


Media coverage this election season has featured some confusing mislabeling of the gender gap and women's voting patterns. To clarify:


The Gender Gap in voting is the difference between the percentages of women and men who support a given candidate, generally the leading or winning candidate. It is the gap between the genders, not within a gender


The Women's Vote describes the behavior of women as a voting bloc or the divisions among women voters for or against a given candidate. It is the percentage-point advantage that one candidate has over the other among women voters - that is, the difference in support for the major party candidates among women voters.


There has been a gender gap in every presidential election since 1980 and women voters have outnumbered and outvoted men for over 30 years. In 2012, recent national and battleground state polling data shows a persistent gender gap that could shape the outcome of this year's election. See CAWP's full advisory on the gender gap here.

For a more detailed analysis, see "What is the Gender Gap? And What Does it Mean in 2012?" and CAWP's fact sheets on the gender gap and gender differences in voter turnout over time.    

Track Women Candidates and the Women's Vote with CAWP 

With all candidates now chosen for the November 6th elections, the number of women running for Congress has surged past previous records.  Take a moment to visit Election Watch 2012, CAWP's home for up-to-date information about women candidates in 2012, to learn more.     


CAWP has also launched Women's Vote Watch 2012, a website that will provide data on the gender gap and the women's vote through Election Day. The site tracks gender differences in key national and battleground state polls on the presidential race conducted since the two parties' conventions.   

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