Study Suggests Fragile Masculinity Could Cost Hillary Votes

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Hillary Clinton
Hillary ClintonPhoto: Justin Sullivan

An experimental study that asked New Jersey voters about their political leanings found that including a question activating a “gender role threat” influenced men’s political opinions.

A randomized group of men received a survey from a political-science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University that asked, “In many American households, women now earn more money than their spouses. How about your household? Would you say your spouse earns more than you, less than you, about the same, or is your spouse unemployed?” The question was intended to prime men into thinking about changing gender roles. Two different versions of the survey went out: One asked the gender-role question before it asked if respondents preferred Clinton or Trump, and one asked the question after.

The men who received a survey that asked the household-income question after they were asked about their political leanings preferred Clinton over Trump, 49 to 33. But the men who were asked the household-income question before they were asked about their political leanings preferred Trump to Clinton, 50 to 42. Fairleigh Dickinson sent out the same survey replacing Clinton with Sanders, and found that the priming question had no effect on the men’s answers.

Masculinity so fragile, it could be partially responsible for electing Donald Trump president.