NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Divergent Voting Patterns Among Women

June 5, 2002

Married homemakers tend to vote Republican, while single working women favor Democrats. New research may help explain these political differences.

  • A recent study by Wisconsin University economist Mahshid Jalilvand found religion was relatively more important for women who don't work outside the home than for women who do -- while economic and political issues were relatively more important to working women.
  • Other studies show clearly that divorce has a strong tendency to make women vote Democratic -- mainly because divorce generally reduces the standard of living for women, while increasing it for men.
  • Thus two Republican initiatives -- a tax credit for children and marriage promotion -- might encourage Republican voting among women.
  • However, another Republican initiative -- strengthening work requirements for those on welfare -- might push some women voters in the opposite direction.

It turns out that once women were off welfare and working, many did so well on their own that they no longer felt as much economic pressure to marry. On the other hand, they are now so busy with work and child raising many have no time for relationships.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis, June 4, 2002.


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