One of the things that has popped up since Julia Gillard became PM is the large gender split that is happening across all issues.

If we look closer at the Nielsen vote estimates, and take a squiz at the gender cross-tabs, it starts to tell the story.


The Coalition is much stronger with males while the ALP is much stronger with females — a complete reversal of the 2007 election result (that you can see in the sidebar). Not only is the strong gender split evident with the vote estimates, but also across the full spectrum of  approval ratings and the questions on “Better Party to Manage”. With the approval ratings, we’ll do the top line results first with partisan cross-tabs, then the gender and capital/non capital city breakdowns.


On the party cross-tabs, it’s interesting to note that Greens voters show the same broad levels of disapproval for Tony Abbott that Labor voters do, while their approve of Gillard is positive by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. This is also reflected in Nielsen’s respondent allocated preference flows (which Nielsen uses to get the two-party preferred results), where this poll Greens preferences flowed to Labor at a rate of 76%.

On the gender split, Gillard leads Abbott on net approvals among males by a moderate 16 points — but among women it blows out to a massive 42 points!

On the Preferred PM beauty contest, while the top-line result and the partisan voting cross tabs look like this:


… on the gender split, Gillard leads Abbott by 14 points among men (53/39) and by 28 points among women (59/31).

Not only is this gender split isolated to the more personal attributes of political leadership, but also comes out strongly on issue management questions. Nielsen asked the following question:

For each one please tell me which of the major parties, the Labor Party or the Liberal-National Coalition, you think would best handle that issue. Which of the major parties, the Labor Party or the Liberal-National Coalition, do you think would be best for handling:

The results for each of the issues, including gender cross-tabs come look like this:


On every issue where the ALP was ahead of the Coalition, its lead among women was higher than its lead among men and for every issue where the ALP trailed the Coalition, it trailed less among women then among men. In the case of asylum seekers, the ALP actually enjoyed a lead on that issue among women while it trailed the Coalition among men.

If we look at the leads the ALP experienced by gender, and measure just how much more favourable to the ALP that lead was among women compared to men, the gender gap really starts to stand out.

gender5It’s really quite stark.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey