What Election Day Would Look Like If Only Women or Only Men Voted

October 12th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Here's a hypothetical question: What would happen on Election Day if only men or women voted?

Young Voters

Here's a data-driven answer. Men would sweep Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump into office while women would vote overwhelmingly for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. That's according to a recent report from FiveThirtyEight, which released two electoral maps that reveal the gender gap in American politics.

Because many states are required to cast their electoral vote based on the result of the popular vote, this is what the electoral map would look like for each gender.

A few basic statistics help explain this stark contrast.

First, a majority of women have voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the last nine elections, a 2016 Pew poll found. Men, on the other hand, have historically leaned Republican. Political scientists believe that the modern, political gender gap developed in the 1980s, when "more women were working, more were single and living on their own," and they felt increasingly enabled to vote in their best interest — not necessarily how their fathers or husbands voted, Slate reported.


Second — more recently in the 2016 election — Trump has fared far worse among women voters (particularly college-educated and Independent party women) than previous Republican presidential candidates. His insults about women, criticizing their appearance, and getting caught making controversial remarks about his sexual behavior have alienated some female voters in the GOP base, leaving him with a 70 percent unfavorable rating among women in a recent poll.

Ergo, the electoral maps.


Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight took the average of recent polls and found that Clinton led Trump in female support by 15 percent while Trump led Clinton in male support by five percent. That leaves Clinton with a 10-point bump in the electorate overall, which he added to her "current polls-only margin in every state" in order to "forecast her performance if women were the only ones who could vote."

"In addition to the states where Clinton is already leading Trump, that would put her ahead in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and the 2nd congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska," Silver wrote. "Clinton would win 458 electoral votes to just 80 for Trump."

He continued:

"If men were the only voters, conversely, we’d have to subtract 10 points from Clinton’s current margin in every state — which would yield an awfully red map. Trump would win everything that could plausibly be called a swing state, with Clinton hanging on only to the West Coast, parts of the Northeast, Illinois and New Mexico. That would yield 350 electoral votes for Trump to 188 for Clinton."

[h/t FiveThirtyEight]

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