The Women's Vote: Sluts for Obama, Church Ladies for Romney

5 years ago

This just in, ladies: hormones may influence your vote on November 6. If you’re a fun-loving carefree single gal, and you happen to be ovulating that time of the month, then you’re destined to vote for Obama. On the other hand, if you’re married or involved in a “committed” relationship, then Romney will be the man of your dreams.

In other words, sluts for Obama and church ladies for Romney.

I just have one question: does this hold true for lesbians, grandmothers, menopausal women, and divorcees?

Alas, shortly after this loopy story took off, CNN yanked it explaining that it failed to meet their editorial standards.

Fortunately, I'd already saved some fun facts from the published version:

The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers' overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

Here’s how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they “feel sexier,” and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, she says.

And you thought the all-important women’s vote the candidates are wooing us for was all about the pay gap, didn’t you? Or what politicians used to call in the bad old days “kitchen table issues” but have since helpfully clarified as “pocketbook issues.” (Speaking of dating yourself, since when has any woman you know carried a “pocketbook?”)

All I can say is thank God I don’t have a period anymore. I would hate to think I might come unhinged in the voting booth at the last second and punch the wrong hole just because I have cramps. But I’d better text my 20- year-old daughter because these are the kinds of facts they don’t teach you in college.

This vital information comes courtesy of a study at the University of Texas, soon to be published in the journal Psychological Science. I am not going to get into it here, except to say that several political scientists who read the study debunked it. What does interest me about the study is this: it comes just in time for the renewed hysteria over the women’s vote and, not to mix metaphors here, the horse-race aspect of the election.

In case you missed it the women’s vote is tightening! Last week Gallup released a stunning poll suggesting that Obama’s considerable lead with women had plummeted to 0 among likely swing-state voters. The media, naturally, went nuts over this breathtaking development:

Women Voters Flocking to Romney! screamed the Oct. 15 headline on Washington Times story.

Women Push Romney into the Lead! declared the Oct. 15 headline on USATodaywho conducted the poll with Gallup.

Credit Image: ©Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post/


It seems this unprecedented political swing was all due to Moderate Mitt’s stirring debate performance on Oct. 8, when Obama strangely decided to take a long nap and got pummeled. This suggests one of three things: either female voters are terribly easy to manipulate, or the data was off, or a little of both.

A word here: This was before GOP Misogynist of the Day, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock enlightened us with his rape is “God’s intention” remark. Romney not only supports Mourdock but starred in a political ad for him, which he has yet to take down despite the enormous outcry from various Republicans, including John McCain. So it’s anyone’s guess if women leaning toward Romney will change their mind.

But about the poll. I don’t mean to sound like one of those conspiracy nuts who thinks the polls are skewed, or the polls are worthless. For that we have Sean Hannity. But as much as they drive me insane, I do know that not all polls are equal. Frankly I didn’t trust the Gallup poll from the start. Romney had shred Obama’s 20-point lead with women in one debate? Talk about magical thinking. The shape-shifting candidate, whose views on everything from health care to foreign policy to even and incredibly contraception are constantly in flux--wasn’t that good.

It turns out the poll was a bit inflated. According to

While some recent polls have shown Romney eroding the president's lead with women voters, the new numbers from NBC/WSJ/Marist show a gender gap that is alive and kicking - both surveys show Mr. Obama ahead among women by almost 20 points.

Last Sunday CNN’s Candy Crowleyalso discussed the women’s vote on “State of the Union” on a panel featuring Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, CNN correspondent Dana Bash and the Washington Post’s Dan Balz. Here was their take:

Bash said that the Gallup poll was an outlier, but that Obama's lead with women has shrunk. She pointed out that women, in addition to voting more than men, tend to be late deciders, which was why both campaigns were trying to appeal to women in an almost "over-the-top" way. Balz agreed that the poll was an outlier, saying the question wasn't whether Obama would win the women's vote, which Balz said was likely based on historical demographic voting patterns, but by how much. (emphasis mine)

Finally, Nate Silver, the wonky genius behind the NY Times’ fivethirtyeight blog, recently said that the gender gap this election will reach an “historic high”:

If only women voted, President Obama would be on track for a landslide re-election, equaling or exceeding his margin of victory over John McCain in 2008. Although polls disagree on the exact magnitude of the gender gap (and a couple of recent ones seemed to show Mitt Romney eliminating the president’s advantage with women voters), the consensus of surveys points to a large one this year--rivaling the biggest from past elections.

The results in the polls were varied, with the gender gap ranging from 33 points (in a Zogby telephone poll for the Washington Times) to just 8 (in polls by Pew Research and by The Washington Post). On average, however, there was an 18-point gender gap, with Mr. Obama leading by an average of 9 points among women but trailing by 9 points among men.

So all this talk about women deserting Obama for Romney? It's just a bunch of malarkey.

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