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Gender and policy persuasion

Georgia Anderson-Nilsson and Amanda Clayton

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 4, 818-831

Abstract: Are policy arguments more or less persuasive when they are made by female politicians? Using a diverse sample of American respondents, we conduct a survey experiment which randomly varies the gender associated with two co-partisan candidates across four policy debates. We find strong effects contingent on respondent partisanship and gender, most notably on the issue of access to birth control. On this issue, regardless of the candidate's stance, Democratic respondents, particularly Democratic men, are much more likely to agree with the female candidate. Conversely, Republican respondents, particularly Republican women, are much more likely to agree with the male candidate. We discuss the implications of our findings for the meaning of gender as a heuristic in a highly partisan environment.

Date: 2021
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