Biggest gender gap ever? Sure looking that way so far in this 2016 presidential election campaign.
The “Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump clash may well set a new record for partisan differences between the sexes,” said Geoffrey Skelley, associated editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
In an analysis released Thursday, he found that “Since Clinton effectively sewed up the Democratic nomination on June 7, the average gender gap in 22 national polls is 24.4 points and the median gap is 26 points, slightly ahead of the exit poll era record set in 2000.”
In recent elections, the gap has been largely explained by policy differences. Women, for instance, tend to gravitate towards candidates who show more sensitivity to health care or children’s issues.
Skelley cited an April poll by Pew showing 41 percent of women thought the Affordable Care Act had a positive impact, compared to 36 percent of men.
This year, though, the “existing divides appear to be exacerbated by the two major-party standard bearers,” Skelley said. The gap in 2000 was 20, and in 2012, 18.