Iowa State University Study Finds Persisting Gender Stereotypes Impact Voting Behavior

Tessa DitontoTessa Ditonto, an assistant professor of political science from Iowa State University, has conducted a new study that shows gender stereotypes continue to influence voters, especially in elections with multiple women on the ballot. The research team did two separate studies using a computer-simulated election environment. They provided research participants with information on each of the candidates and analyzed how participants evaluated the candidates and voted.

The researchers say that gender had the greatest effect on women in down-ballot races when women appeared on the ballot who were running for a higher office. The study found that when there was only one woman on the ballot, participants were just as likely to vote for her as the male candidate, however, when another woman was added, the woman lower on the ballot had more negative evaluations and received less votes.

Dr. Ditonto says that the results of this study are concerning, especially with a record number of women running in the upcoming midterm elections this fall. However, as more women run for office and win, she hopes that women in politics will become more of a “norm” and this gender stereotype effect will go away. In another paper, Dr. Ditonto found that candidate information is crucial for voters. The more information about a candidate they had, the less they relied on gender bias to make their decision.

Dr. Ditonto received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan where she double majored in political science and Spanish language. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The full study, “Two’s a Crowd: Women Candidates in Concurrent Elections,” was published in the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. It may be accessed here.

A video of the authors discussing their study is shown below.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply