Political preferences by gender
During the week of October 25, The Tech surveyed 2,145 graduate and undergraduate students, or nearly 20 percent of the student population at MIT, about their political views. On Election Day, November 2, we published a breakdown of some of the more interesting results, and promised to publish more in the coming weeks. Conspicuously absent from our original analysis was a gender breakdown, which is presented here.
All in all, 1,233 males and 882 females responded to our survey. The response rate from those identifying themselves as “Intersex,” “Transgender,” or “Other” were not high enough to establish significant conclusions. When asked how they viewed themselves on a spectrum from “Very Conservative” to “Very Liberal” in a general political sense, women tended to lean more liberally than men. Using an index with zero representing a response of “Moderate” and 1 representing a response of “Liberal,” women averaged to about 0.6, while men averaged to a significantly lower 0.4. So, MIT men and women are both, on average, more liberal than moderate, but women more so.
Where does this difference come from? When asked to rate their fiscal views, male’s responses averaged to -.058, with zero representing a response of “Moderate” and -1 representing a response of “Conservative.” Women, in contrast, averaged to .107, with 1 representing a response of “Liberal.” Both are clustered fairly close to an overall “Moderate” stance, but these differences are statistically significant — men are fiscally more conservative than women (and overall, men are very slightly leaning conservative in a fiscal sense). In a social sense, men achieved an index of .795 and women .953, both pretty close to a response of “liberal.” In general, then, men are more conservative than women in both the social and fiscal spheres, but on the whole, both MIT men and women are quite liberal in a social sense.