The 2012 Election: A Gender Gap And A Marriage Gap

August 22, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 8/18/2012) The latest Economist/YouGov Poll continues to find registered voters closely divided. This week, it could not be closer. There is a tie between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. 45% of registered voters say they will vote or are leaning towards voting to re-elect the President, 45% support his challenger.

But this week’s poll also shows large differences in the way men and women plan to vote. Men give Romney an 12-point lead; women favor the President by 11 points. If this reflects the final outcome, it would be one of the largest gender gaps in a presidential election since the gap was first noticed in 1980. But in addition, there are enormous differences in the voting preferences of those currently married and those who are not. Romney leads 51% to 39% among those currently married, while the President is ahead by 15 points among those who are not currently married.

In recent years, Republican presidential candidates have done better with older voters, while Democrats have done well with younger ones. This week, the President continues to have a large lead with voters under the age of 30. The GOP maintains a 12-point advantage with those 65 and older, even though the naming of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate, has made Medicare a major issue in the fall campaign.

Romney’s supporters are still more likely to say their vote is more a vote against the President than one for Romney, although the addition of Ryan has made Romney supporters more positive. 44% of them now say they are voting for their candidate, up seven points from two weeks ago, before Ryan’s selection.

Now, as before, the President’s voters overwhelmingly say their vote is for the President.

Republican voters continue to be more enthusiastic than the President’s supporters about the prospect of voting this fall. And their level of enthusiasm has risen in recent weeks. Before the naming of Ryan, 46% of Romney supporters said they were extremely enthusiastic about casting a vote in November. Now, 53% are.

The two candidates are evenly matched in the view of registered voters when it comes to qualities of leadership, morality, knowledge, intelligence and decency. But the President is more likely than his challenger to be seen as caring, inspiring and compassionate.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association