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CINCINNATI, Ohio — With Joe Biden becoming the likely Democratic candidate in 2020, at least one political researcher says voters are in for one unsophisticated presidential race. According to David Niven from the University of Cincinnati, women tend to run smarter and more sophisticated political campaigns than men.

After studying over 1,300 questionnaire responses by politicians to the League of Women Voters, the researcher and his team concluded that female candidates were more focused when running for office.

“Women tend to take the prospect of a political campaign more seriously, and their campaigns reflect that. Even when a woman is running in a difficult district, she is likely to make a serious effort,” Niven claims in a university article. “Men will run for office at the drop of a hat. In long shot circumstances, men’s campaigns tend to be very amateurish.”

Keep It Simple

The associate professor of political science says his measure for sophistication was based on how many details each candidate gave in their answers to campaign topics. While unsuccessful candidates tended to get caught up in confusing details, Niven says winning politicians stick to general and thematic answers to a question.

“Overall, we found that women candidates are less likely to get caught up in details that, quite frankly, can lose votes and get in the way of the candidate’s message,” Niven said.


One example from the 2016 election revealed that a female candidate’s winning campaign in Texas spoke very generally about the area’s traffic problem. While she admitted to voters that “we all sit in traffic together,” an unsuccessful male challenger reportedly discussed creating “moving sidewalks like on the Jetsons.”

Although they’re allegedly more sophisticated, Niven says the smarter campaign doesn’t always translate into votes for women. The Cincinnati professor points to the presidential campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who had been running a distant third in the 2020 Democratic primary before dropping out in March.

The research is scheduled to be published in Political Research Quarterly in June.

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About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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