With the official announcement of Betty Ireland running for governor in the 2011 special gubernatorial election just moments ago and with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s hat already in the ring, it seems only appropriate to discuss how female candidates will fair in upcoming West Virginia elections.
Yesterday, The Economist posted an article that piqued my interest, “The glass elevator in American politics.” Long has the belief been held that in the American political arena, women continually keep hitting their hair-sprayed heads against a glass ceiling, however, I’m happy to report that with the help of the spikes on our stilettos, we’re breaking through now more than ever.
Ronni Marie Abney of the University of California and Rolfe Daus Peterson of Mercyhurst College, studied down-ticket races in California and found “that voters are, if anything, biased in favor of women.”
“In the Democratic races, women fared much better than men. This might be expected, because voters seem to associate women with more 'liberal' issues…and Democratic primary voters tend to be liberal.” Regarding Republican primaries, voters tended to be more focused on issues like law and order and defense, which seem a little more “manly.” Even this did not put female candidates at any sort of disadvantage. According to the study, “A male name carried no advantage.”
That being said, we have two females running for West Virginia governor in 2011. One was the first female Secretary of State, and one is the current Secretary of State. How do you think both will fair against their male opposition and possibly against each other?