Local Politics

Gender gap: More women casting early votes

Posted October 27, 2008 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 3:31 p.m. EDT

— Almost 57 percent of the more than 1 million votes cast statewide during the first 10 days of early voting have been by women, according to the State Board of Elections.

"Well, women tend to be efficient," voter Kathy Hall said with a laugh.

"I'm excited about the women running in this election," voter Geneva Golder said, referring to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue and U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan.

"(Female candidates) kind of sparked my interest, even when I saw Hillary (Clinton)" running for president, voter Monica Couch said. "I got roused up from that."

More women have voted as Democrats, Republicans and independents than men so far. Men outnumber women voters only among registered Libertarians.

"I just think women are coming out and they really are just doing their part," Golder said.

Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said he isn't surprised that more women have voted than men.

"North Carolina has more women than men in its population. North Carolina has more women than men as registered voters," Guillory said.

Women account for about 55 percent of registered voters statewide.

Guillory said the early voting numbers are driven by an excitement about the presidential election rather than about any particular candidate.

"This is an election in which people feel that their vote really matters, and I think that's what is happening," he said.

Despite polls showing women tend to favor Democratic candidates, he said he doesn't think large numbers of female voters will push the election to particular candidates.

"I don't think you can say a vast majority of women are on one side or the other," he said.