A distinct gender gap is forming in the race for Georgia’s top offices, as polls show female voters are siding with the Democratic candidates while men are solidly behind the Republican hopefuls for the open Senate seat and in the governor’s contest.
The gap mirrors a national trend that has unsettled GOP leaders and helped Democrats seize Republican-held seats in places like Virginia. Republicans here see their lead among men as a bulwark against Democratic gains in a state buoyed by demographic changes.
Both parties are trying to capitalize on a national pattern that crystallized in the 2012 election, when the gender gap was the largest recorded in the polling firm Gallup’s history. Females supported Obama by 12 points over Mitt Romney. The Republican won the male vote by an eight-point margin.
In Georgia, the gender gap could ultimately decide the race. A report the Secretary of State’s Office released in August showed there are about 2.8 million “active” female voters, defined as voters who have participated in recent elections. They account for roughly 56 percent of the state’s 5 million likeliest voters.
If Democrats succeed in registering more minorities, where black females outnumber their male counterparts by an even greater margin, the divide could increase.
Democrats have tried to widen the rift by pressing a “war on women” argument that claims Republicans are too far to the right on issues such as abortion rights and gender equality. The AJC poll showed that women generally expressed more concern over social issues and health care than men. Male voters were more likely to list immigration as a determining factor in their vote.