When asked if they’d prefer to vote for a man or a woman, all things being equal in the congressional election this fall, the vast majority (three quarters) of registered voters said it doesn’t matter one way or another. But more than twice as many voters (16%) said they’d prefer to support a woman than those who said they’d prefer to support a man (7%), according to a recent poll published Tuesday by USA Today/Suffolk.
The most likely subgroups to prefer a woman candidate include voters who describe themselves as liberals (35%), Democrats (29%), and those who have an unfavorable view of Vice President Mike Pence (26%). That’s slightly more than the 24% who have an unfavorable view of President Donald Trump and said they would prefer to vote for a woman over a man. The groups that backed women candidates in the poll tend to be more Democratic, as Democrats are nominating a record number of women this year, as well as more than Republicans.
Men who said that it mattered were divided whether they prefer to support a man or a woman, with 6% saying they would rather vote for a man and 9% preferring a woman. The vast majority of men (82%) said it doesn’t matter.
More women said it matters whether they’re voting for a man or a woman, but still seven-in-10 said it didn’t matter. Women were also much more likely to vote for their own gender with 21% who said they’d prefer to vote for a fellow woman and only seven percent who said they’d prefer a man.
Of the 16% of registered voters in the poll who prefer to vote for a woman, the most common reason cited was that women are more likely to care about the issues that matter most to them with 38% who said so. Also, 16% of those who prefer women said women are more likely to shake things up in Washington.
Of that 6% of registered voters in the poll who would prefer to vote for a male candidate, one-third said it’s because they are less emotional, followed by a quarter who said men are better leaders and 12% who thought men are more likely to shake things up in Washington.