Speed Reads

survey says

Study: People's attitudes toward women actually helped Hillary Clinton's campaign

"Certainly, misogyny played a role," Hillary Clinton said in April of her election loss. "I mean, that just has to be admitted. And why and what the underlying reasons were is what I'm trying to parse out myself."

This is a point Clinton has made more than once in recent months, but new analysis published at The Washington Post today suggests voters' attitudes about women may not have affected the election the way she thinks. The report is based on survey data from this past fall in which respondents were asked six questions to gauge their assumptions about women's roles and status in American society — questions about topics like employment, motherhood, and equality.

Participants' answers were used to determine whether they hold progressive or traditionalist views on women. Though men leaned more traditional, progressive views were by far more common, and they strongly corresponded with votes for Clinton. In one sense, the Post report concludes, "Hillary Clinton is correct" because if "fewer voters had held traditionalist attitudes toward women’s roles and statuses, Clinton’s national popular vote total (already a plurality) would have increased." In certain swing states, less traditionalism could have given us a different winner on Election Day.

But in another sense, Clinton's remarks are misleading, because the traditionalists were in the clear minority. In other words, the Post explains, Clinton "had more votes to 'gain' from people with progressive attitudes than she had votes to 'lose' from those with traditionalist views."