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Reagan's "Gender Gap" Strategy and the Limitations of Free-Market Feminism Public Deposited

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  • In late November 1982, presidential aide Lee Atwater forwarded to chief of staff James Baker a report warning about “one of the most severe challenges facing the [Reagan] administration” in the coming year, one that “could lock the GOP into permanent minority status.” He was referring to the “gender gap”: women had voted for Reagan in significantly lower proportions than men, Reagan’s approval lagged among women, and pundits credited women voters with several Democratic victories in the 1982 midterm elections. Polls also showed potential presidential contenders for 1984 running “substantially better among women than men in trial heats with President Reagan.” Pollster Ronald Hinckley counseled that “continued growth of the gender gap . . . could cause serious trouble for Republicans in 1984,” while California congresswoman Bobbie Felder warned that the gender gap could prove “disastrous.” Media analysts contributed to Republican alarm. Adam Clymer speculated in the New York Times that the gender gap “may infl uence American life in the 1980s as much as the civil rights revolution did in the 1960s.”
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  • Marisa Chappell. (2012). Reagan's "gender gap" strategy and the limitations of free-market feminism. Journal of Policy History, 24(1), 115-134. doi: 10.1017/S0898030611000406
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  • 24
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  • 1
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  • Research for this article was generously supported by an Oregon State University Valley Library travel Grant.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deborah Campbell (deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-02-20T17:43:54Z No. of bitstreams: 1 ChappellMarisaHistoryReagan'sGenderGap.pdf: 120086 bytes, checksum: 39495f9bfd2b2a409f6c2aeb21b88171 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Deborah Campbell(deborah.campbell@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-02-20T18:14:40Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 ChappellMarisaHistoryReagan'sGenderGap.pdf: 120086 bytes, checksum: 39495f9bfd2b2a409f6c2aeb21b88171 (MD5)
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