Gender and age in the presidential election

June 16, 2008 7:14:37 PM PDT
A new ABC News poll released shows John McCain's age is a bigger issue for voters than Barack Obama's race.

Also on Monday, an ABC7 Listens Poll offers a new look at the role of age, race and gender in the 2008 campaign.

We've polled 900 voters in the Bay Area and almost 60 percent said race played a significant role in Barack Obama's primary victory. But not nearly as many of you thought gender was as big a factor in Hillary Clinton's loss.

During her long campaign, Hillary Clinton and President Clinton repeatedly said she was the victim of sexism -- particularly from political commentators.

"I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," said President Bill Clinton.

But 50 percent of the Bay Area voters polled told ABC7 News gender did not play a significant role in determining the democratic nominee, 44 percent said it did.

"Do you think that Hillary Clinton being a woman helped her or hurt her?" asked ABC7's Mark Matthews.

"I think it hurt her a little bit," said Susan Putnam from Freemont.

"It hurt her, you think so, yeah I do," said Tuyet Le from San Francisco.

"No, I don't think either way it didn't help or hurt," said Dorothy Avery from San Francisco.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled said being a woman had little or no impact on Clinton's changes, 29 percent said it hurt her, but almost the same number said it was a help.

While Barack Obama's race was seen as a clear benefit; 41 percent said it helped him win, 29 percent said it was little or no impact and 24 percent said it hurt him.

"In the primary it probably gave him a lift," said Jerome Cuffey from San Francisco.

But in the general election against McCain, 42 percent of those polled believ his race will hurt him.

On the issue of John McCain's age, 46 percent of those polled said McCain's age will hurt his chances in the general election.

But almost the same number told ABC7 News his age will have little or no impact.

"You know the people who are looking for change, it will work against McCain that he is older," said Nathan Jensen-Horne from Walnut Creek.

The Obama campaign has begun describing John McCain as confused. The McCain camp believes that's an attempt to race concerns about McCain's age.

The latest polls show women are favoring Obama over McCain 51-to-38, according to the Gallup Poll.


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