Saturday, September 18, 2004

Look at all the captivating, fascinating things

I sense a trail of retreat being laid in this breakdown of polling differences between men and women. ANOTHER gender gap has appeared, this time on a poll testing men's and women's knowledge of issues in the presidential campaign. On the eight-question quiz administered to 1,845 adults, men were more likely on every question to give the right answer. [...] "Reporters' obsession with the horse race rather than the substance of politics is likely to be more of interest to men, who pay more attention to sports than women," [analyst Kate Kenski] said. That theory seems to jibe with the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, which found that men were more likely, by 56 percent to 49 percent, to say they were paying "a lot" of attention to the presidential campaign. Oddly enough, though, women were more likely, by 72 percent to 62 percent, to describe the campaign as interesting, although that might be because they are tuning out the stuff about Social Security and taxes. If Bush wins, will liberal pundits use the conclusion subtly set up here - that female voters were brainwashed by emotional rhetoric - as a new catchall excuse? It seems awfully arrogant and a bit sexist in my mind to assume that women "should" be more concerned about Social Security and taxation issues than, say, terrorism. Even odder, perhaps, was the gender gap on a question in the Times poll asking whether Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Twenty-nine percent of men said he was, versus 47 percent women, putting them 18 points ahead - or maybe that should be considered behind. The Times hasn't definitively proved that Saddam wasn't tenuously involved, right? Maybe the poll respondees are just applying the new CBS standard of evidence.

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