The PG passed on some factoids
from a state commission about how women in Pennsylvania actually make up more of the vote than men. 54% was the factoid. It's not anything surprising. In fact I am pretty sure that percentage would be even higher (as in more skewed toward women) for most local elections here. The companion facts all point out the low female participation among elected offices in the state; something that has been documented for a long time as well.
But are they facts that speak for themselves? Depends what you think they are saying. I am pretty sure in this case the answer is no. I am sure a lot of folks jump to the conclusion that women are just that more politically active than men. Of course that just isn’t the thing driving that 54% number. I think I’ve beaten to death the fact that we are a very old voting demographic. (my details are here
, and here
just to begin with )Far older than the overall population demographic would imply. Now add in the fact that women live longer than men
. Put it together and what do you get, that a lot more of the people making it to vote happen to be women. Those supervoters in particular are going to be a female demographic. There just are more females than men among the folks far more likely to vote. What that 54% does NOT mean is that if you pick an average person of a given age out there that the probability a woman votes is necessarily different from the voting bahavior of comparable men.
While I have some longer parsing of the local electorate
, you really can look at in much simpler terms that get you to the 80% solution. The center of gravity in most local elections is clearly women over age 60. Strong support in that one group and very little else matters.
Then there is the further implication of the factoid. Women are the ones voting, but women are not in public office. One might think that the entire issue is women not being able to get elected. Of course that appears to not be the case around here. Years ago I had some long comments on the decision by one-term state rep Lisa Bennington to not seek a 2nd term
. That was after defeating long time incumbent Frank Pistella which then had implications for female representation in the state general assembly. More recently I am sure each had very solid reasons for their decisions, it remains amazingly rare events for politicians to walk away from office voluntarily, let alone with no scandal involved. To have two such local cases recently is almost impossible statistically. Yet in both cases it was the female candidate who won contested elections. In Bennington’s case a race against a fairly well liked long term incumbent, says it is not entirely a bias against women that is the issue.
No time to recompile it right now, but the pie chart I did breaking out voters in the spring primary by age would be an even stranger result if I did it just for women. Strange as in skewed even more toward older voters if that is even possible. I said 5 times as many voters age 60 cast a ballot in the spring primary compared to the voters under 30. I will lay good odds that the same ratio would be more like 10 to 1 if calculated just for women. Think about that just a bit.
But here is one thing. From the spring primary in the city, the ratio of female voters to male voters among the actual ballots cast, by age, looks like this:
and I have to say I have no idea what is going on with more men among the youngest voters. Never thought about that much and I will try and see what is causing that number and make sure it's correct. I was reading a book from a decade ago titled NonVoters
, but I don't remember any discussion about that in particular. Anyone know what is causing that? or why it may be appearing that way in the data.