Tuesday’s election marked a stunning turnaround for the Republican Party, which gained more than 60 new seats in the House and six additional seats in the Senate. As much as any other demographic, it was conservative men who brought the GOP back from two dreary years in the political wilderness.
Overall, 56% of the male electorate voted Republican, compared to 49% of women, according to exit polls. While women are known to outnumber men, the seven-point gender gap was more than enough for men to leverage the GOP to a ringing victory that resonated from the coal fields of Pennsylvania to the sun-kissed beaches of Florida and the bayous of Louisiana.
The male surge was felt across all major racial/ethnic groups. Compared to 2008, the percentage of white male voters who voted Republican expanded from 54% to 63%, according to the CNN exit polls. Same with Latino men, who saw an increase from 28% to 38%. And the number of black males swept into the GOP ranks doubled, going from 7% in 2008 to 14% in 2010.
In race after race, energized men rescued the Republican Party from its electoral doldrums.
Take Florida, where the charismatic Marco Rubio handily beat Charlie Crist. While 64% of men pulled the lever for Rubio, only 44% of women did the same, handing Rubio an unassailable 20-point gender gap advantage among men.
In New Hampshire, 65% of men supported former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, compared to 55% of women. Thanks to the guy vote, Ayotte cruised to an easy victory over Democrat Paul Hodes.
In Pennsylvania, Republican Pat Toomey slid into a virtual tie with Democrat Joe Sestak during the final two weeks of the race. And on Tuesday, Toomey notched a 10-point advantage with the male electorate, handing him the sorely-needed victory.
In Wisconsin, men again spelled the difference. A year ago, all the pollsters were betting Sen. Russell Feingold would cruise to an easy re-election. But on Tuesday, men confounded the pundits, spotting an 8-point advantage over the ladies.
Even in races in which the Republican Party did not prevail, the male vote turned what would have been a lop-sided Democratic victory into an Election Day nail-biter. In Colorado, 53% of the guys voted Republican, compared to 39% of the gals. But in the end, Michael Bennett eked out the win over GOPer Ken Buck.
In the senatorial races in Arkansas, Illinois, and South Carolina, the female vote exerted a decisive effect for Republicans. But more often, the female electorate tended to split between the two parties, casting men as the electoral decision-maker, such as in Indiana (Dan Coats), Ohio (Rob Portman), and in innumerable House races.
The pervasive impact of men on Tuesday’s election should not have come as a surprise.
This past April the Pew Research Center released a poll showing 52% of men favored cutting back government programs. No surprise, the poll also revealed 56% of males supported the goals of the Tea Party movement.
In September, Democratic pollster Celina Lake noted the 2010 elections were shaping up to be “among the bigger gender gaps we’ve seen.” And a Marist poll found 48% of Republican men were “very enthusiastic” about voting, with 28% of Democratic women being similarly animated.
Last June I predicted that the 2010 midterm elections were shaping up to be a “perfect electoral storm” based on the male electorate’s “resolute antipathy to creeping socialism.”
Now all conservatives, men and women alike, need to work together to restore fiscal sanity, preserve the family, and undo the damage of the last two years.
Carey Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness of all political stripes. His work has been published in The Washington Times, ACU Battleline Online, Pajamas Media, WorldNetDaily, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, and elsewhere.