The Gendered Reaction to Palin

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Early polling data shows that the gendered reaction to John McCain choosing Sarah Palin is exactly the opposite of what pundits and presumably John McCain thought it would be.   The wonderful FiveThirtyEight website has the information here.   Basically, men are more positive about Palin while women are reacting more negatively:

[The poll shows that m]en have a favorable imperssion of Palin by a 35-point margin, whereas women have a favorable impression of her by an 18-point margin. Conversely, by a 23-point margin, women do not think Palin is ready to be President, whereas Palin lost this question among men by a considerably smaller 6-point magrin.

There are all sorts of possible explanations here, including the one offered up by Nate Silver at the link above – that men tend to be more conservative than women, and Palin’s staunch conservative ideology is more appealing to them.   But, I think other factors could be playing out here, including a feeling by many women that McCain has insulted their intelligence by trying to pick off their loyalty based solely on sharing internal plumbing with this Alaskan right-wing ideologue.   I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention a suspicion that many (heterosexual) men are feeling positive toward her because they are attracted to her.   I could be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

– David S. Cohen

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0 Responses to The Gendered Reaction to Palin

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I’m confused – did the poll lump all women and all men together, regardless of party affiliation? Given the fact that more women are Democrats than men, I am not at all surprised by this.

  2. Francine Lipman says:

    I believe one of many explanations for the negative reaction by women is that when asked this question women cannot forget that Palin is the mother of five, including an infant with a significant disability. As a result of this very recent and difficult choice she cannot be ready to be President because she and her husband have made a commitment to this child (and her other children) which at this time when the child is a few months old supersedes her responsibility to serve the country in this obviously time, energy and soul consuming manner.

  3. bob coley jr says:

    I am not a wise or very educated observer of the “tricks of political marketing” so this may sound silly, BUT, many of the good people I know suport something for selfish, pragmatic reasons. SOME add their voices to a cause simply because they do not want be viewed negatively. Oportunistic maybe? Someone that does right because it is to THIER advantage to do so is an oportunist. Someone that does right because they are afraid to be caught being wrong is a coward. Those that do right because it is right are blessed. Not sure which this choice falls into, we shall see. I do hope we are blessed in our choice in November.

  4. Francine Lipman says:

    Interesting point Ann. The survey does not distinguish women and men by party. The statistics on the following question are notable and support your observation as well as. I believe they also indicate that Palin is not playing as favorably to conservative women as anticipated (I think my explanation above is one reason for this reaction):

    Are you more/less likely to vote for McCain was 33% more likely; 34% less likely and 29% no impact (women); 38% more likely; 32% less likely and 27% no impact (men).

    Thanks for pointing out/linking this very interesting website David.