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Erschienen in: Society 6/2020

01.12.2020 | Symposium – The State of American Politics

Democracy’s Disparity? Gender, Equality, and the 2020 Iowa Caucuses

verfasst von: Margaret F. Joseph, Matthew J. Dickinson

Erschienen in: Society | Ausgabe 6/2020

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Abstract

The Iowa caucuses are often praised for exemplifying the ideal of deliberative democracy. From this perspective, voters come together publicly on equal footing to debate and choose their preferred presidential candidate. Critics contend, however, that the caucus process is not as democratic as supporters believe. In practice, they claim, caucuses mirror power asymmetries rooted in society-based differences based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. To assess these competing claims, we test whether there is a relationship between group identity and the degree of comfort Iowa voters feel expressing an opinion during the deliberative process. Using interviews, observations, and results from a survey taken by 1024 Iowan voters, we find data consistent with both perspectives. Men and women are generally comfortable voicing beliefs at the caucus, but men more so. Additionally, women are more likely than men to feel social pressure to vote a certain way, discuss their candidate choice with others, and express a sense of community through the process. We conclude that female participants are more open and sociable than men while attending a caucus, but less assertive in sharing their opinions. Based on this criterion, we determine that the Iowa caucuses, while generally approximating the ideal of deliberative democracy, are nonetheless less democratic than its proponents contend.
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Fußnoten
1
Interview with “Bev” at the Lamoni Welcome Center on I-35 North. February 2, 2020.
 
2
Consistent with prior research, we also find disparities regarding who attends caucuses, but for the most part we do not address that in this paper.
 
3
In this paper, we define marginalized groups as: non-white people, non-male-identifying people, non-heterosexual-identifying people, low-income people, disabled people, and ethnically Hispanic or Latino people. However, due to data limits, we focus primarily on differences due to gender, sexual orientation and race.
 
4
This is not to say that voting in a primary is perfectly accessible either. Participation is affected by obstacles such as voter ID requirements, lack of language access, voter roll purges, reduced poll hours and long wait times.
 
5
Because deliberation privileges some interests at the expense of others, it can be seen as another tactic to allocate one’s power.
 
6
See Appendix 1 for a discussion of the survey methodology.
 
7
The survey we designed assumes there is no difference between the group of people who provided an email address in their voter registration and the group of people who did not.
 
8
A full demographic breakdown is provided in Appendix 2.
 
9
We weighted the survey using Stata 16’s ipfweight command to match exit poll data regarding turnout by race, education and gender. We were not able to match our sample with the exit poll data regarding income or age, but the raw numbers indicate that our respondents skewed slightly older, and with higher incomes, than caucus goers as a whole.
 
10
Age, gender, income bracket, 7-point political ideology scale (1 being extremely liberal, 7 being extremely conservative), education, sexual orientation, disability, race, geography and which candidate they initially supported.
 
11
Just under 36% of caucus goers responded to the invitation to comment, including 38% of women, and 33% of men.
 
12
Respondents could select more than one answer.
 
13
This catalogue compiles registered voters’ first name, middle name, last name, birthdate, county of residence, Iowa congressional house district, Iowa congressional senate district, zip code, political party, phone number, voter status, and sometimes an email address.
 
14
Districts 3, 4, 12, 17, 22, 24, 27, 34,40, 41, 45, 46, 52, 56, 58, 60, 63, 66, 72, 73, 88, 89, 90, 99. We chose this number of districts based on the financial constraints of our budget.
 
15
According to the 2010 Census, each district has a total population of approximately 30,464 people.
 
16
See Appendix 3.
 
17
It is optional for Iowa voters to list their email address when they register to vote. Therefore, our sample was limited to people who (a) had email addresses, and (b) shared the information when they registered.
 
18
See Appendix 4.
 
19
With incumbent President Trump already securely slated to be the Republican candidate, Republican voters may have found it less necessary to show up to caucus, and thus less likely to respond to an email asking for their opinion on the 2020 caucuses.
 
Literatur
Zurück zum Zitat Burns, N. and D. Kinder. “Categorical politics: Gender, race, and public opinion.” (2012). Reprinted in Tali Mendelberg, and Christopher F. Karpowitz. “Power, Gender, and Group Discussion.” Political Psychology 37, no. S1 (2016): 23–60. www.​jstor.​org/​stable/​43783904. Accessed 12 May 2020 Burns, N. and D. Kinder. “Categorical politics: Gender, race, and public opinion.” (2012). Reprinted in Tali Mendelberg, and Christopher F. Karpowitz. “Power, Gender, and Group Discussion.” Political Psychology 37, no. S1 (2016): 23–60. www.​jstor.​org/​stable/​43783904. Accessed 12 May 2020
Zurück zum Zitat Wood, W., & A. Eagly. “Gender.” (2010). Reprinted in Tali Mendelberg, and Christopher F. Karpowitz. “Power, Gender, and Group Discussion.” Political Psychology 37, no. S1 (2016): 23–60. www.​jstor.​org/​stable/​43783904. Accessed 12 May 2020 Wood, W., & A. Eagly. “Gender.” (2010). Reprinted in Tali Mendelberg, and Christopher F. Karpowitz. “Power, Gender, and Group Discussion.” Political Psychology 37, no. S1 (2016): 23–60. www.​jstor.​org/​stable/​43783904. Accessed 12 May 2020
Metadaten
Titel
Democracy’s Disparity? Gender, Equality, and the 2020 Iowa Caucuses
verfasst von
Margaret F. Joseph
Matthew J. Dickinson
Publikationsdatum
01.12.2020
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Society / Ausgabe 6/2020
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Elektronische ISSN: 1936-4725
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-020-00552-w

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