There are many issues to consider when analysing voting behaviour. One of these issues is gender. However, even though there is a significant gap it is important not too over-estimate it as many other issues come into force when voting, i. e. race, religion, region and ethnicity. Over the past 30 years the gender gap has remained constant; men have tended to vote republican and women have tended to vote for Democrat, an example of this was in the 2000 elections, only 36% of men voted for Gore (Democrats) but 48% of women voted for him.
Voting behaviour data has shown that men started to abandon the Democrat party because they wanted more conservative policies on matters like crime, race and welfare, which the Republican party were willing too give. There are many controversial issues surrounding the gender gap including ones that are hypocritical to assumptions made on everyday life. For example; It has been found that on average, American women are more religious than American men, this would lead us to believe they would be more likely to vote for the ‘religious party’ (the Republicans).
This is therefore a reversal of what we would expect in voting behaviour. There are reasons for this and they include but are not limited too; only the most committed and devout are influenced by religion when voting, others are influenced by modern matters too them, i. e. abortion and the rights of lesbians (which Republicans strictly oppose both). Another reason could be that men and women politicise their religious beliefs in different ways, and finally that gender differences on non-religious issues sustain the gap over and above the religious subject.
This voting behaviour is seen by some political analysts too be forced upon voters. It has been found that many election campaigns are gender coded, the republicans use aggressive terms that appeal to men, like war, punishment, labour etc and it is also seen that women reject the Republicans because of their commitment to old-fashioned family values, where the women stay at home and the men bring home the money.
The gap grew significantly during the Regan years and although it has remained constant for the majority over the past 30 years, there have been times where the differences are not entirely consistent. This could be because of the influences of other matters, including things like war, national disasters, political reputations, if any of these problems arise then there is normally a sizeable abandonment of the government and many voters switch too the opposition.
Other gaps are much larger including the gap between urban and rural regions, higher and lower incomes (women generally earn a lower income) and the gap between different races. Therefore it can be seen that there is not a qualitative relationship between gender and voting, there are many other influences in modern society that dismiss the gap between genders when considering voting behaviours and it is these gaps that we see (i. e. lower and higher income) and that are wrongly labelled as a gender gap.