Following earlier discussions on the gap in voting intentions between male and female voters, YouGov pollster Anthony Wells has done an interesting analysis of YouGov polling data over the past couple of years, plotting the Tory lead among men and women.
It certainly seems that, at least over the last year or so, there has been a greater Tory lead among women. It should, however, be noted that the Tory lead is not the same as the Tory vote share. It may well be the case that the Tories are doing no better among women, but simply that Labour is doing worse.
There are considerable differences between sections of female opinion, particularly across different age groups. The Tories actually dipped under 20% among young women over summer but are gaining support among older women, a critical demographic as they are numerous and likely to vote.
However, contrary to the impression given by some commentary in the press, Cameron is actually less popular among women than among men – though Blair is less popular still. It seems that women have been more turned off than men by both of the main parties and their leaders since they voted in 2005.
We have looked at some of the possible reasons for that already, but it was interesting to see MORI’s analysis of political priorities by gender. The most striking difference is in the priority given to the NHS by women and combined with the fact that women have become far more dissatisfied than men with the NHS since the election, it seems that this must be a major factor in the gender gap.
Ironically, this has occurred under a female Health Secretary, but as women are far more likely (a gap of around ten points) to want her sacked than men are, it would seem that they are no more forgiving of a female minister than a male one if they don’t like the policies.