Title

Who Reveals, Who Conceals?: Candidate Gender and Policy Transparency

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2020

Abstract

© 2019 University of Utah. Do women candidates in the United States more openly provide the specific details of their policy preferences and make clear their political ideology? Previous research supports all manner of conflicting expectations regarding gender and campaign communication strategies. Here, with an eye toward offering evidence on the degree to which candidates make clear their issue positions, we consider how more than 1,300 candidates running in the 2016 elections from fifteen randomly chosen states answered voter guide questions. We do so both to better understand the murky theoretical relationship between gender and communication styles and to offer insight into the practical realities of how women run for office. Ultimately our findings support the notion that women run for office differently, offering less transparency of their issue positions than men. The implication, consistent with a theory of conditional political ambition, is that women weigh more seriously the decision to run for office and, thus, run more sophisticated campaigns when they do pursue office.

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