The gender gap turned into a marriage gap
But this doesn't mean, as IWF surely hopes, that women are sucking it up and finally doing as men tell them, I don't think. By the way, this is the most nonsensical press release I've ever read.
"We found that at the beginning of the campaign these women were focusedon issues like healthcare and the economy, and gave the liberal candidate asignificant edge," said Pfotenhauer. "But during the course of the campaign,terrorism and national security became higher priorities for women, which moved them toward the President."
Exit polling data also found that moral issues were the top priority of 22percent of all voters -- receiving a higher percentage than any other issue.
"The left has really become out of touch with real Americans when it comesto moral values," said Pfotenhauer.
Within the press release, they admit that terrorism was what caused the gap to narrow, as women changed their votes to align with men's. What the fuck does that have to with moral values? Anyway.....
The common (read: conservative) wisdom on the gender gap is that men are the standard voting pattern, and women are the ones who are aberrant. The marriage gap discussions focus on women and women only, whose votes are assumed to be malleable to the men in their lives. In a way, this makes some sense, since men overall tend to be more conservative, but women only get so when they marry. I know lots of women with left-leaning politics that vote Republican because they don't want to hear about it from their husbands.
But there's more to it than a gender gap that's "rectified" by bringing women into line via marriage. The marriage gap isn't a woman-only phenomenon. The gap between married and unmarried was a much larger one than between men and women. A lot of this has to do age, it seems to me, but even more of it probably has to do with the fact that single people regard the Bush administration as having declared open war on them.
The gender gap between men and women surely depends on so many factors that sweeping generalizations are meaningless, and so is the gap between married and unmarried. Every tiny subculture across the country probably has gender and marriage gaps of wildly varying sizes. Like the single, non-student population of Austin probably has a very small gender gap since men and women both seem to be liberal and pretty much feminist, or at least agree with general feminist policies like abortion on demand. But when you turn to the actual student population, you'd probably see a different trend as the very young college women turn to liberal politics to exert their freedom whereas a significant portion of very young college men turn towards conservative politics so they can condemn the moral slide that they haven't been invited to participate in.
I think you can find these sort of differences all over the place. The gender/marriage gap is sure to shrink and grow depending on the different tensions between men and women and single and married from community to community. And it's not just men who influence women--in communities that put a premium on women's equality, women exert quite a bit of influence on men. Quite a few male friends and my boyfriend turn to me first if they have a question about some political story they haven't heard all the details on, because they know that I follow this stuff closely and I can probably fill in the details. In my social circles, people's marital status is not particularly relevant (I've mentioned that I know couples I see all the time and I don't know if they ever made it official.), but I know that in some places married and single people don't socialize much with each other and this could lead to a larger marriage gap.
All of this means that the death of the gender gap has been called prematurely. I guarantee that next election, when the issues at the forefront of people's minds are different, you'll see the gender and marriage gap change size.