The gender gap III

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.

That would seem to chime with this analysis done by Ipsos-MORI for the Fawcett Society. For polling geeks, it is well worth a read and confirms some of the suggestions we made earlier in the week.

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.


3 Responses to The gender gap III

  1. wozza says:

    Theers a slight spnning it seems here – Cameron isn’t popular with women, but Blair is less popular still…… doesn’t that mean Cameron is more popular with women than Blair?, or just less unpopular is still good for him at the moment. Its a good number for cameron after all the backing Blair has had from Women in the past.

    Who are you more likely to support – someone health professionals are pissed at -BestYearEver Hewitt?…. or someone you have no negatives for?

    The unfavorables are all on Labour at the moment with regard to the NHS.

    The NHS is more of an issue with mums than it is for men – and women pay closer attention to it in general for instance – people in the NHS don’t like the Health Secretary – it is NO suprise that women are polling this way.


  2. Cameron is more popular with women than Blair, but he is less popular with women than with men – that’s the point we were making.

    The Tories and Liberals have not particularly reaped the gain from Labour’s crashing ratings on health – it’s more that those, mainly women, who have become disillusioned since payment-by-results and the Trust deficits started to cause service cuts, now trust no party.

    That’s fine for the Tories though – if people give up on the NHS, they will probably vote on other issues, and the other priorities for both men and women are crime, immigration and defence – three areas on which the Tories have a traditional advantage, whatever Reid et al think they can do.

  3. wozza says:

    Ah, fair enough.

    But i still maintain that the lead the Tories had on the NHS a couple of months ago could come back if Labour can’t Unison back, the support might not go to the Tories – but if they don’t haemorrage they will be very well placed.
    I agree about the other issues, despite the number of criminal justice bills labour has passed the fear is still there about crime, and that helps the tories.


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