On Tuesday, I wrote that among the many factors that could come into play to in a decisive fashion for either U.S. Senate candidate was the so-called “gender gap,” a trend noted in polling and specifically targeted by Democrats in their attacks on Ken Buck’s positions.
Tuesday’s results show that the gender gap was real, at least as far as Sen. Michael Bennet’s electoral victory was concerned.
Bennet won the majority of battleground counties handily–as noted below (won/lost for Bennet)–but more importantly, all eleven counties show a significant registration advantage for women among all “likely” voters. The full list of counties for Colorado shows that more than 50 of the 64 counties have a gender registration advantage among women. Bennet’s targeting of women’s issues and pushing the “Buck dislikes women” meme allowed his campaign to do well in the suburban counties that are critical to any statewide campaign’s success. With women already favoring Democrats, and in particular independent and single women showing a clear partisan preference, Bennet’s strategic and tactical use of strong messaging overtly targeting women allowed him to take advantage of the marginal female vote–the unaffiliateds and leaners (and possibly even some Republicans) who “just couldn’t vote for Buck.” It did not produce a staggering landslide, but enough margins of a few thousand in each of the counties to give him a narrow, 1 point victory.
Exit polling showed women giving Bennet an insurmountable lead. Even with Buck winning men almost as handily, the clear numerical advantage the Democrats were looking at meant that Buck could never make up the ground if women turned out and perhaps even split their tickets, voting against Buck in the Senate race but sticking with Republicans in the Congressional races and state-level races.
The county is followed by the “likely” voter registration with women listed first, followed by men: