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The Feminist Factor: More than Half of 2012 Women Voters Identify Themselves as Feminists

A newly released voter poll finds that feminists not just women in general were key to the 2012 election results: fully 55 percent of women voters self-identified as feminists.

Political pundits declared the day after the vote that women voters and the gender gap had decided the outcome. A poll of those women voters, conducted by Lake Research Partners for Ms. Magazine, the Feminist Majority Foundation and CCMC, documents the existence of a strong "The Feminist Factor."

That's the title of an article in the current issue of Ms. Magazine by Ms. publisher Eleanor Smeal as part of the magazine's observance of Women's History Month.

"As we move forward after the elections of 2012, it's time to acknowledge that it wasn't just women who made a critical different in reelecting President Barack Obama, but feminists," Smeal wrote. She continued, "Now it's time to add another metric beyond the gender gap to our post-election analysis: 'the feminist factor.'"

The Feminist Factor, as outlined in the magazine, is the proportion of voters who self-identify as feminists across various demographics - by race, age, religion, region of the country and more and their subsequent voting behavior.

Ms. Magazine has asked this question on voter polls since 2006.

Facts about the Feminist Factor in 2012:

  1. A majority of women voters, 55 percent, self-identified as feminists in 2012 when asked "Do you consider yourself to be a strong feminist, feminist, not a feminist or anti-feminist? When given the dictionary definition on a follow-up question, a super-majority of 68 percent said YES. The dictionary definition of a feminist is: "someone who supports political, economic and social equality for women."

  2. The Feminist Factor is at an all-time high and has increased by 9 points since 2008. Charts on the Ms. website show trends over the years.
  3. Feminist Factor

  4. The Feminist Factor is especially strong among women in the emerging and expanding electorate of young women under 30, African-American women and Latinas.

Women under age 30
Self-described: 59% identify as feminist, 24% strongly
With definition: 73% identify as feminist, 31% strongly

African American women
Self-described: 66% identify as feminist, 33% strongly
With definition: 75% identify as feminist, 48% strongly

Latinas
Self-described: 71% identify as feminist, 27% strongly
With definition, 86% identify as feminist, 29% strongly

White women
Self-described: 52% identify as feminist, 15% strongly
With definition, 63% identify as feminist, 23% strongly

Feminist Factor

###

Eleanor Smeal, Publisher of Ms. and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Kathy Spillar, Executive Editor of Ms. and Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation are available for further interviews.

For more information about the voter poll, about men who consider themselves feminists and other break-outs from the results, contact: CCMC, Kathy Bonk kbonk@ccmc.org 202-258-6767 or Andrea Camp,acamp@ccmc.org (443) 851-1462.