Women have had the right to vote in the U.S. for nearly 100 years now, and the issue of female suffrage is now so mundane and non-controversial in the contemporary political realm that the notion is hardly given a second thought. But what would happen, hypothetically, if only women voted in the 2018 mid-term election?
Polling aggregation website FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers, and — not unexpectedly — a female-only electorate would elect Democrats by a majority.
It’s hardly a secret that, by and large, women tend to vote for left-leaning parties. According to the Conversation, women born after 1955 worldwide are more likely than men to vote for left-inclined politicians. Citing a declining religiosity amongst younger generations as part of the reason for this trend, the Conversation alludes to the fact that a demographic shift has occurred. Democrats also purport to be the party that defends female-centric platform keystones such as abortion rights, parental leave, and access to birth control.
In aggregate polling, FiveThirtyEight writer Geoffrey Skelley points out, women across the country favor Democrats by eight points.
In other words, if the election were held today, and if only women voted, the Democrats would win the House of Representatives in a landslide, winning 275 seats to 160 for the Republicans.
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) October 26, 2018
By comparison, the latest polling — across all voters groups — suggests that Democrats are likely to win 231 seats in the House. This would still give Democrats a majority, however slight. By way of comparison, if only men voted, the House would go 186 Democrat to 249 Republican.
Of course, statements like this require all manner of equivocation and context. Women and men will, of course, be voting in the mid-term elections. And not all women lean to the left. Further, geography plays a huge role in women’s voting patterns — in liberal states like California, female voters tend to be more liberal, while in conservative states like Kansas, female voters tend to be more conservative.
And then there’s another factor that FiveThirtyEight may have failed to consider, and that’s the so-called “voting gap.” And that gap favors female voters: according to Rutgers University’s Center For American Women And Politics, since 1980 eligible female voters have turned out at the polls in much higher rates than their male counterparts. In the 2016 election, for example, 59.3 percent of registered, eligible men voted — while 63.3 percent of registered, eligible women voted.