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ERIC Number: ED314797
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Nov
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Gender Gap and Women's Issues in the 1988 Presidential Campaign.
Nelson, Victoria
Two factors during the 1988 presidential campaign were largely responsible for the erosion of "women's issues" and the so-called "gender gap"--the perception that a candidate is unattractive to women voters. This perception is thought to be based upon the candidate's stand on issues such as abortion, day care and the Equal Rights Amendment. First, with regard to George Bush, success was gained through a series of interrelated identifications which offered disparate images, each with a potentially persuasive effect on women. One image of Bush was that of law-and-order "Equalizer," which appealed to women who were anxious about crime in the streets and drugs in the schools. Added to this was the kinder, gentler "Father-Knows-Best" image of Bush which reinforced Bush's claim to family values. Yet another effective version was that of Bush as "Bumbler," in which the self-deprecating Bush could laugh at himself and demonstrate his human side. This strategy was successful in the sharp contrast it made to Michael Dukakis, who presented himself as the competent candidate but who was perceived as cold and unlikable. Secondly, the notion of "women's issues" remained somewhat vague and undifferentiated and, as such, was sometimes subsumed under issues of broader social concern. Issues thought to be relevant to women were generally not perceived as crises necessitating governmental response. Furthermore, there was no single advocate, no lobby or spokesperson who promoted these issues to the top of the political agenda. (KEH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A