Men and women haven’t agreed on politics since the elections of 1972 and 1976. Then, the results were practically mirrored. Regardless of sex, the American public preferred one candidate over the other. In the past, while women tended to favor Democratic candidates more than men, married couples still tended to vote Republican.
“Being married constrained the gender gap,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “A lot of women agreed with their husbands.”
Over the past four decades, women’s political ideals have shifted further left. Public policy issues, especially those regarding the wage gap and reproductive rights, have widened the voting gap between men and women. This was clearly illustrated in the 2012 election, when there was a historic 20-point voting gap between men and women when it came to supporting Barack Obama.
This year, however, the comments made by Republican candidate Donald Trump, which he later dismissed as “locker room talk,” as well as other reports that have questioned his treatment of women, have torn loyal Republican wives from the GOP. Instead, women in general are favoring Hillary Clinton, regardless of who their husbands are voting for.
These divided homes have put stress on the couples, causing some to believe that political misalignment to this degree may boost the rate of divorce after the election cycle.
“[The election] has caused enormous strains within married couples,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayers. “And part of the problem is not just preference, it’s that if you’re not for Trump, you have a hard time understanding how any rational human being could be. And the same is true for Clinton.”
For some, politics just aren’t high on their agenda before they get married, but election years can allow differing opinions to take a toll on marriages, especially for newly married couples.
Some researchers have hypothesized the opposite: that divorce repercussions have caused the voter gap to widen.
With the cost of divorce so high, it could easily match the cost of a couple’s wedding reception, which cost $13,106 on average in 2012 — the last election year.
Women are often hit harder by divorce, and rising divorce rates seem to correlate well with an increase in social and economic self-interest, according to the authors of the report, Divorce and the Political Gender Gap.
On Oct. 11, the data polarizing voter interests became even more clear. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight published two maps that showed the presumed outcome of the election had either men or women voted exclusively.
The map of men’s voting patterns show Donald Trump winning, with 350 out of 538 electoral votes. On the contrary, when only women are counted, Hillary Clinton wins the presidency with an overwhelming 458 electoral votes.
Against the odds, Donald Trump Won the election with 279 electoral votes.
Exit polls showed 58% of married men voted for the Republican candidate, compared to just 47% of married women — still higher than expected.