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Men Won't "Stand by Hillary?"

Topics: General , Hillary Clinton

[Margie Omero is President of Momentum Analysis, a Democratic polling firm based in Washington, DC.]

A Washington Post story on Thursday declared men unwilling to support Hillary Clinton. But much like stories in Slate's compendium of easily-debunked trend pieces across topics, this story uses thin analysis and anecdotal quotes to support its claim. Selected quotes from male voters and opponents' pollsters and a quick wave over some polling data not only leave the question "Will Enough Men Stand By This Woman?" unanswered, I'm left asking, "Why was this question asked?" (Disclosure: I do not currently work for any of the Presidential candidates. Call me!)

Yes, in the Democratic primaries, Clinton does better with women than with men. But does this mean that men don't like her because of her gender? Or could it be that women like her more because of her gender or are moved by her potential First Woman President status? A recent ABC-News/Washington Post poll of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters shows women are twice as likely as men to say Clinton's historic run makes them more likely to vote for her.

Alternatively, Clinton could fare worse among men for an entirely different reason, related more to partisanship than gender. The article alludes to Clinton's popularity among men in the general election, and quotes an independent man going to hear Mitt Romney speak. Given the gender gap in partisan identification (Clinton aside), it is important to compare genders within each party. Naturally Republican-leaning men are going to like Clinton less than do Democratic-leaning women, meaning sexism or a "pushy" personality aren't automatically to blame, as the article implies.

The story also claims that men dislike Clinton because "half of men say she's not willing to say what she really thinks. Large majorities say that Obama and John Edwards are." It's true that in both Iowa and New Hampshire, clear majorities of Democratic Primary voters feel Obama and Edwards are "willing enough to say what they really think about the issues" (78% and 76% for Obama in New Hampshire and Iowa, 71% and 73% for Edwards). Clinton's numbers on this measure are indeed weaker (55% and 50% in New Hampshire and Iowa). Now, we haven't been able to track down the results to this question by gender. But given how much lower her overall numbers are on this question relative to her opponents, it seems to me that Clinton doesn't have a "male problem" as much as a "not seen as saying what she thinks" problem. Whether this is a problem that will translate into votes will be revealed in the next few weeks.

 

Comments
CalD:

I'd have no trouble voting for Clinton myself. I actually think she's the toughest guy running.

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