It has been obvious throughout the early stages of the primary season that Democratic women running for office are having a phenomenal year. It has been less thoroughly discussed, perhaps because it is literally an example of the same-old, same-old, that GOP candidates (and primaries) have been overwhelmingly male. This phenomenon was perhaps best dramatized by the Georgia gubernatorial primaries, where Stacey Abrams (the eventual nominee) and Stacey Evans were the Democratic candidates, and five white men on the GOP side battled it out with testosterone-laden messages about toughness, guns, and hostility to “aliens.”
When it comes to the battle for the U.S. House, the gender disparities are equally distinctive, notes the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman:
And it’s not just that a lot of women are running as Democrats this year, though that is true. They are also winning primaries:
It’s reasonably clear, moreover, that this mix of candidates reflects the attitudes of Democratic and Republican voters, who in this as in other respects are polarizing:
In 2000, Gallup found that 70 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of Republicans agreed that “the country would be governed better if there were more women in political office.” In December 2017, a CNN/SSRS pollasked voters, “Do you think this country would be governed better or worse if more women were in political office?” The gap had doubled: 83 percent of Democrats said “better,” but just 36 percent of Republicans did so.
Interestingly, Independent respondents to the CNN/SSRS poll were much closer to Democrats’ view: 63 percent of them said “better,” as did 68 percent of self-identified moderates. This suggests Democrats’ primary embrace of women could pay November dividends.
If you are looking for X factors in the fight for House control, this might be one to keep in mind.