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Nearly twice as many young women identify as liberals than young men amid worsening trend
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Nearly twice as many young women identify as liberals than young men amid worsening trend

An analysis of Gallup Poll data recently conducted by the American Enterprise Institute's Survey Center on American Life (SCAL) found that 44% of young women, ages 18-29, identified themselves as liberal in 2021, whereas only 25% of young men did so. The delta between the two sexes' left-leaning identification is the largest recorded in 24 years of polling, and indicative of a significant leftward shift by young women.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, less than 30% of women identified as liberal. However, after such ideological identification wavering in the low thirties between 2008 and 2012, that number began to skyrocket in 2014.

Since 1998, the highest level of male liberal identification recorded was in 2016 (29%), but that has dropped in the intervening years.

SCAL's "American Storylines" suggested that there are a number of factors driving this leftward trend of young women, including more time spent in academia (especially relative to men), a diminished likelihood of being or getting married, increasing secularity and homosexuality, and the socio-political impact of the Dobbs ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade.


Daniel Cox, a senior fellow in polling and public opinion at the AEI, noted that significantly more women under the age of 30 today are unwed (15%) as compared with twenty years ago, when roughly one-third were married. In 1972, 55% of women ages 18-29 were married.

Cox cited a 2017 study by Christopher Stout, Kelsy Kretschmer, and Leah Ruppanner which indicated single women whose interests are not aligned with or "Institutionalized" with a spouse or a family may be less likely to support policies that would advance such otherwise shared economic prospects.

In a phenomenon the researchers termed "linked fate," rather than acting in mutual interest with a spouse, they may instead choose to act collectively with other members of their gender in support of policies that are not necessarily family-centric.

Although young men are likewise less likely now to be married now than were previous male cohorts in their age range, they nevertheless have not made a giant ideological shift leftwards.

Another significant factor linked to marriage (or at the very least to heterosexual coupling) is the impact of parenthood. A Tulane University study published last month revealed that parenthood prompts individuals to become more conservative — to prioritize safety, stability and family values.

The study also showed that those "motivated to care for children" may be less likely to show preference for policies that undermine the family and marriage or promote destabilizing forces such as adultery and promiscuity.


Last year, the Atlantic reported that in 2020, U.S. colleges enrolled 1.5 million fewer students than five years prior and that men accounted for over 70% of the decline. Every year since the mid-1980s, women have earned more bachelor's degrees than men.

Cox suggested that the formal educational outpacing of men by women is reflected in the gendered delta in liberal identification, largely because "of the stronger connection between educational attainment and political behavior." This has been demonstrated in recent elections, where women have "become a much more loyal Democratic constituency."

In the 2018 midterm elections, 59% of women voted Democrat. In June-September 2022 polling, only 39.4% of women noted Republican support.

A 2018 study revealed that among 8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.-holding professors from 51 of the 66 top ranked liberal arts colleges in the U.S., the mean Democrat-to-Republican ratio was 10.4 to 1. If military colleges West Point and Annapolis were excluded, the ratio became 12.7 to 1.

In addition to the strong influence of such leftist academics, Cox suggested that extracurricular campus life has a profound political impact on students. Students are surrounded by others similarly susceptible to leftist influence, and segregated from conservative or working class views that may not be represented or permissible on campus.


Cox stated that young women have "experienced the most dramatic change in religious identity," having undergone a five-fold increase in religious unaffiliation since the late 1990s. The figure now stands at 38%, 17 points higher than the general population.

Traditional religiosity and religious commitment have been correlated with the expression of more conservative views.


Cox suggested that young women's embrace of liberalism may also be driven by their rapid relative identification as gay, lesbian, "queer," "bisexual," or "transgender."

The SCAL reported in April that while 75% of young men say they are only attracted to women (91% of senior men noted an exclusive attraction for women), only 56% of women reported being attracted to only men.

A September 2021 article in "Public Opinion Quarterly" revealed that "LGBT Americas are distinctively liberal ... in their general political predispositions, electoral choices, and attitudes on a wide range of policy matters."

Roe v. Wade

According to an October 4 SCAL report on findings from an August 2022 American Perspectives Survey, young women are far less concerned about economic issues than their male peers, and far more concerned about restrictions on baby-killing.

Whereas 46% of men in the age group are following the news about abortion, 64% of the female cohort are following very or somewhat closely. When it comes to inflation and gasoline prices, 70% of men are paying close attention, whereas only 55% of female respondents reported paying close attention.

While abortion has captured a great deal of the public's attention, only 36% of Americans rank it as a critical issue. However, 61% of young women regard it as the "most important issue." By way of comparison, only 32% of young women cite crime as a critical issue, 7% than the overall average.

In a recent piece for FiveThirtyEight, Cox contrasted the relatively conservative views on abortion held by millennials to those views held by Gen Z.

Owing to their waning religiosity, women 29 and under may care less for religious-based arguments against the killing of the unborn. Additionally, other pro-life arguments may be less attractive to them, particularly if they have been impressed by the popularized suggestions that their education, careers, and personal freedoms from responsibility are the keys to happiness and success. Cox wrote, "It's possible that support for abortion rights is rooted in the idea that an unplanned pregnancy might undermine these aspirations."

21-year-old Rose Merjos told The Hill that "I would always choose a candidate that's pro-abortion." The Wesleyan University government major claimed, "Almost everyone either knows someone who has had an abortion or has had one themselves."

Merjos suggested that women are "liberalize[d]" by their involvement in campus groups and political community organizations.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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