Politics & Policy

Colorado’s Gender Gap Gives Bennet the Edge

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:

Adams: 90,642 78,953 WON

Arapahoe: 147,137 126,112 WON

Boulder: 84,817 78,148 WON

Denver: 146,700 127,093 WON

Douglas: 82,915 76,404 LOST

El Paso: 155,460 134,643 LOST

Jefferson: 159,027 140,145 WON

Larimer: 88,174 79,445 WON

Mesa: 38,435 34,474 LOST

Pueblo: 40,913 34,718 WON

Weld: 59,609 53,521 LOST

Total Women: 1,093,830

Total Men: 963,656

By Gender by Status

The gap appeared in many other states as well in both gubernatorial and U.S. Senate battles. Not all Republicans lost, however.

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