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The Palin Gender Gap

September 9, 2008

Poll: Women and men don't see eye-to-eye on Palin

Posted: 09:00 AM ET

From CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

A new poll shows a gender gap when it comes to Palin.

WASHINGTON (CNN) "” When it comes to support for Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, a new national poll suggests men and women don't see eye-to-eye.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey out Tuesday morning indicates that 62 percent of men questioned have a favorable opinion of the Alaska governor, nine points higher than women. In the poll, conducted Friday through Sunday "” entirely after then end of the Republican convention, 23 percent of men have an unfavorable view of John McCain's running mate, seven points lower than women.

The gender gap is also apparent when it comes to whether Palin is qualified to serve as president if needed. Fifty-seven percent of male respondents in the poll said Palin was qualified, 14 points higher than women. A majority of females polled, 55 percent, said that Palin is not qualified to serve as president.

Half of all respondents think Palin is qualified to serve as president, twenty points lower than Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Is it fair to raise questions about her experience?

"A majority of women say yes, but it's close; men are slightly less likely to see those questions as fair game," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

Overall, 50 percent of those polled say criticism of Palin is fair, with 45 percent saying it's only because she is a woman. In 1984, when Democratic Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York became the first woman running mate on a major party ticket, only 27 percent said such criticism was fair.

Overall, 57 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of Palin, six points higher than Biden.

What would happen if Americans could cast two separate votes for president and vice president?

"Palin would win the second slot by a 53 to 44 percent margin, based largely on the votes of men," Holland said, adding that "in a hypothetical race with no running mates, Obama gets 49 percent and McCain gets 48 percent."

"In the real world, the McCain/Palin ticket and the Obama/Biden ticket are tied at 48 percent apiece, indicating that the running mates bring virtually no votes to the ticket by themselves," Holland also said.

The survey questioned 1,022 people and carries a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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