What’s the truth behind the gender gap reports?
Over the past couple of weeks there’s been a lot of focus on the big gender gap that is said to have developed in support for the two main parties. This was sparked off by the November Populus Poll in the Times when this was given splash treatment and has been followed up a number of columnists.
One of the problems with the Times report was that it was based on just one survey from a pollster that, as Anthony Wells reports in an excellent analysis on UK Polling Report, had shown some very big swings on the gender split. The same is also the case with ICM.
To get a much wider spread of data and to look at this over a longer term Anthony has taken every single published YouGov over the past two years and has produced the chart above. As he points out in his article the internet pollster tends to have bigger sample sizes than other firms which iare by the fact that it does not cut back its voting intention number by whether or not respondents are likely to vote.
Clearly there might be something about YoUGov’s methodology that produces this very distinct gender difference but it is hard to see what that could be given that its overall numbers have not been out of line with the other main firms. The trend from the chart is very clear.
As Anthony concludes “The bottom line, therefore, is that the gender gap in one single Populus poll probably doesnâ€™t signify much at all – but looking at the longer term picture women voters do seem to have swung more heavily to the Conservatives than male voters have.”
Judging by the latest position of the chart the Tories have made almost no progress amongst men since November 2004 which should be worrying for the party.