, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 587-618
Date: 01 Aug 2010

Masculine Republicans and Feminine Democrats: Gender and Americans’ Explicit and Implicit Images of the Political Parties

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During the past three decades Americans have come to view the parties increasingly in gendered terms of masculinity and femininity. Utilizing three decades of American National Election Studies data and the results of a cognitive reaction-time experiment, this paper demonstrates empirically that these connections between party images and gender stereotypes have been forged at the explicit level of the traits that Americans associate with each party, and also at the implicit level of unconscious cognitive connections between gender and party stereotypes. These connections between the parties and masculinity and femininity have important implications for citizens’ political cognition and for the study of American political behavior.

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association in Boston and the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago. Some of the data I analyze here were collected by the American National Election Study at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan, and are available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.