The 2018 Election Results Reveal Largest Gender Gap In 26 Years

The gender gap has not been this large since 1992.

Cartoon of male and female separated by crack
Michael D. Brown / Shutterstock

The gender gap has not been this large since 1992.

Results from national exit poll data conducted for the 2018 midterm elections indicate that women played a huge role in Democratic candidates taking control of the House of Representatives, FiveThirtyEight is reporting. 59 percent of women voted for Democratic candidates while 40 percent voted for Republicans. Notably, the gender gap is larger than it’s been since 1992, with men and women seeing a 23-point difference in their voting choices. This may seem like only a minor increase from the 22-point difference documented in the 2016 election, but take into account that a larger amount of men shifted to Democratic candidates this year, and the gap reads more significant.

Other traits observed include race and educational background. More white women voted for Democratic candidates this year in comparison to 2016. There appears to be a pretty even split, with 49 percent of white female voters going blue and 49 percent going red. In 2016, only 43 percent of white women voted Democrat, and in 2014 only 42 percent of white women did. These statistics show that a lot of the gender gap can be attributed to women of color voting for Democrats. As far as education goes, white women without a college degree voted for Republicans by 14 points (56 percent to 42 percent), and white women who did have a college degree voted for Democrats by 20 points (59 percent to 39 percent.) This signifies a pretty notable 39-point gap.

This year also saw more white women without a college degree vote Democrat, with only 35 percent having voted Democrat in 2016. The numbers from this year could be indicating that educational backgrounds are making less and less of a difference in voting patterns as the years go on, but as of now, it still appears to be a major factor in voting preferences. Other factors considered were location and age. Voters from urban locations voted Democrat 65 percent to 32 percent, and rural voters voted Republican 56 percent to 42 percent. Suburban voters split evenly. Democrats saw a huge turn-out for 18- to 29-year-old voters this year, with younger voters backing Democratic candidates by a 35-point margin — a leap from 2016’s 14-point margin.

Voters were also surveyed on specific issues. 41 percent of voters cited health care as their biggest concern, with 23 percent who said immigration and 22 percent who said the economy. Ten percent said gun policy was the biggest issue. Other voters said that President Donald Trump played a role in their decision, with 38 percent of voters hoping to oppose Trump with their vote, while 26 percent voting to support him. Thirty-three percent said Trump was not a factor in their vote. Trump’s current overall approval rating is 42 percent, and his disapproval rating is 52.4 percent.

An analysis of the 2018 voter turn-out shows significant voting patterns for various demographics. Statistics indicate that factors such as gender play a role in helping a voter determine who to vote for.