Married v. unmarried could be the new election “gender gap”

October 24, 2012

Despite the American obsession with voting differences between men and women – the famed U.S. election “gender gap” – there is a far bigger “gap” dividing likely voters in 2012 – the yawning divide between marrieds and unmarrieds.

Fifty-seven percent of likely voters who are unmarried support Democratic President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 general election, including those who have never been married, live with a partner or are widowed, divorced or separated.

Thirty-three percent of those unmarried likely voters back Republican challenger Mitt Romney, giving Obama a 24-point edge among the 910 respondents, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data for the week ended Oct. 21.

Among married likely voters, Romney led by a 13 percentage point margin, 53 percent to 40 percent, in a sample of 1,322 respondents, for a yawning 37-point “marriage gap.”

“There is something that appears to be around the marriage factor alone,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

Analysts offer a variety of explanations for the “marriage gap.” One is that married people tend to be more religious, and religious people are more likely to vote Republican. Another is that Republicans are seen as promoting a more traditional image, with a “family” consisting of a husband and wife – who often stays at home with the children – and two or more children, which appeals more to married voters. Another is that married men and women, because they are in a more traditional type of relationship, are more likely to be conservative.

The marriage gap transcends gender, although women generally leaned more toward Obama.  Married men backed Romney by 54-39 percent over Obama. Unmarried men backed Obama by 54-35 percent.

Women who have never been married, live with a partner or are divorced, separated or widowed backed the Democrat by 61-30 percent, and married women favored Romney by 51-41 percent over Obama, according to the data.

The gender gap for the same week? A mere 8 percentage points. Among all male likely voters, 46 percent backed Romney and 45 percent were for Obama, a one-point gap. Among all women, 49 percent favored Obama and 42 percent supported Romney, for a seven-point difference, and an 8-point gender gap.

The Reuters/Ipsos database is now public and searchable at this link.

Picture credits: Obama Reuters/Kevin Lamarque. Romney Reuters/Brian Snyder


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YES journalist Patricia Zengerle I AGREE WITH YOUR OPINION Unmarried Women & female youths are very crazy about OBAMA I think they are also become a power factor in
this election because MR OBAMA policies & demand of Unmarried working women are likely fulfill and they are very happy to achieve some goals regarding women rights.
Only some conservative and orthodox are against the bill otherwise majority of liberal are in favored.
So it will take some change at the turnout of Election results.

Posted by GULROO | Report as abusive

Mr. Romney has some great old fashion values which would be great if they worked for everyone, but when you start blaming unwed mothers for the gun assaults, and marriage is a sacred sanction,between man and woman, I disagree, I had a husband who beat the hell out of me, back in the hey day it was acceptable and I was told to suck it up and obey my husband. After presenting my case in court to a judge he signed the divorce, second marriage my husband was trying to do my daughter from a previous marriage. Same sex marriage, who cares, it’s the 21st century and requires changing ideas. It doesn’t mean one must change their individual beliefs but respect others have a right to their belief. It’s not the place for the President of US to impose his personal beliefs on everyone.

Posted by GailC | Report as abusive