Gender bias

When asked about gender, voters’ support of Clinton drops eight points

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s rivals for the presidency may not have a lot in common in their views on economics, religion, or foreign policy, but what they do have in common could give them a distinct advantage in the election: they’re men. According to polling by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Clinton’s favorability goes down about eight points when pollsters ask voters questions about her gender. When they ran the same political questions with opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders in the place of Clinton, the researchers found no bias at all, according to Vocativ.

Researchers found that among male Democratic voters, Clinton represented a “potent” threat to their masculinity, particularly because of her very public history of rejecting traditionally feminine roles, they said. “She is not binding to the typical role of what a woman has been traditionally in American politics and American society,” explained Dan Cassino, a political science professor who helped run the poll.

If Clinton presents herself as decisive and competent, she risks being seen as unfeminine, but if she presents herself to voters as nurturing and soft, she risks being called weak by her male opponents, Cassino said.

The same scientists studied the effect of race in the 2008 race with then-Sen. Barack Obama, and found that he too faced a distinct disadvantage when voters were asked about his race. This time, researchers found that the challenge facing Clinton over her gender was nearly twice as great as the challenge of race was to Obama.

Read the full story at Vocativ.

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