Women running "as women": Candidate gender, campaign issues, and voter-targeting strategies

  • Herrnson P
  • Lay J
  • Stokes A
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Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that voter stereotypes about gender place certain strategic imper- atives on female candidates. This study examines the effects of the interplay of candidate gender and campaign strategy using a new data set consisting of survey responses from U.S. House and state leg- islative candidates who ran for office in 1996 or 1998. We demonstrate that women gain a strategic advantage when they run "as women," stressing issues that voters associate favorably with female candidates and targeting female voters. These findings suggest that one of the keys to success for female candidates is to wage campaigns that use voters' dispositions toward gender as an asset rather than a liability

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Authors

  • Paul S. Herrnson

  • J. Celeste Lay

  • Atiya Kai Stokes

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