Political Behavior

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 227-246

Feminist consciousness and candidate preference among American women, 1972–1988

  • Elizabeth Adell CookAffiliated withDepartment of Government, The American University

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Recent research has suggested that women with a feminist consciousness differ from nonfeminists in their attitudes and values. This paper investigates the impact of feminist consciousness on candidate preference and vote choice in presidential elections from 1972 to 1988. In those elections in which candidates took divergent positions on feminist issues, feminism was a significant predictor of candidate preference after controls for demographic variables, political attitudes, and partisanship. In elections in which the candidates took similar positions, however, feminism did not affect candidate preference. The 1980 election was the exception: in that election, feminists cast relucantant ballots for Carter, while rating John Anderson higher.