Women run more sophisticated political campaigns for office than men, says David Niven, a leading political researcher. For the study, Niven analysed 1,351 candidate responses to detailed questionnaires provided by the League of Women Voters in races across the nation in 2016. Those races ranged from local school boards and city councils all the way up to the US Senate.
In a study, scheduled to be published in the journal Political Research Quarterly, the researchers found that women tend to run more sophisticated campaigns even when the odds are against them. "Women tend to take the prospect of a political campaign more seriously, and their campaigns reflect that. Even when a woman is running in a difficult district, she is likely to make a serious effort," said David Niven, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.
Women run more sophisticated political campaigns
"By contrast, men will run for office at the drop of a hat. In long shot circumstances, men's campaigns tend to be very amateurish," Niven added. Niven's measure of campaign sophistication is based on how many details candidates provided in their responses. The study found that more successful candidates tended to answer questions with general, thematic responses, while less successful candidates wallowed in specifics.
"Overall, we found that women candidates are less likely to get caught up in details that, quite frankly, can lose votes and get in the way of the candidate's message," he said. The bottom line here is that women run more sophisticated campaigns in general, but that doesn't mean they are rewarded commensurately by the voters, according to the researchers. Niven is continuing his analysis of the League of Women Voter guides from the 2018 midterm elections and will also analyze the guides and outcomes from the 2020.