Poring over the list of candidates
for the Idaho Legislature, Boise State political scientist
Gary Moncrief finds a gender gap far more pronounced than the roughly 7 percent historical difference between how women and men typically vote for president.
"A Democratic candidate is three times more likely to be a woman than is a Republican candidate," writes Moncrief in a weekend email. "In Idaho, it isn’t a gender gap; it’s a gender chasm."
Friday was the final day to file for 105 seats in the Idaho Legislature, and Moncrief notes that 38 percent of Democratic candidates are women, compared to 13 percent of the Republican candidates.
The proportion of women in the Legislature has fallen from 31 percent in 1992, when Idaho ranked No. 7 in the nation, to 27 percent in the current Legislature. With retirements and the new candidate roster, that figure appears likely to decline in the 2013 Legislature. (You can see what two senior lawmakers who are retiring have to say about that in my Q&A with House Revenue & Taxation Committee Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, and Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, who has long worked to recruit women candidates.
Here's the full text of Moncrief email:
Most people think of the “gender gap” as the gap between the male-female distribution of votes for candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties. The gender gap is most commonly discussed in light of the Presidential vote. Since 1980 the gap averages about 7% but has been as high as 11% (1996, when 54% of women voted for Bill Clinton while only 43% of men did so).
But an even more dramatic gender gap exists among candidates from the two major parties—this is generally true for congressional candidates as well as state legislative candidates almost everywhere. We have known of this gender gap for some years now. It is certainly true in Idaho. Looking at the candidate filings for state legislature, 13% of all GOP candidates are women while 38% of Democratic candidates are women. In other words, a Democratic candidate is three times more likely to be a woman than is a Republican candidate. In Idaho, it isn’t a gender gap; it’s a gender chasm.
There is also a regional gap. Only 12.6% of the state legislative candidates in Districts 27-35 (basically, eastern Idaho) are women, while 23% of the candidates from the rest of the state are female.
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