Pew Research Center
Released: March 29, 2012
The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men formore than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.
In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters. It marked the second consecutive month that Obama held such a wide advantage over Romney among women (59% to 38% in February). In both February and March, Obama ran about even with Romney among men.
In the March survey, Obama’s overall lead over Rick Santorum was 18 points. Fully 61% of women voters said they would favor Obama in a matchup with Santorum, compared with just 35% who backed the former Pennsylvania senator.
The gender gap – the difference in support for a candidate among women and men – is about as wide today as it was at this point in the campaign four years ago. In March 2008, both Democratic candidates, Obama and Hillary Clinton, had narrower overall leads over John McCain than Obama has today. Obama ran about even with McCain among men, but he led by 14 points among women (53% to 39%). Clinton trailed among men, yet also led by 14 points among women.