The Mommy Penalty

Hey women – don’t run for office if you’re a mother. The Republicans won’t support you. (Unless, of course, you are flirty, frivolous, and 100% vacuous. They like that.) But, if you have a brain and have children, your work is in the home. Am I right, Rush?

In a recent Pew Research Poll, respondents were presented with one of four hypothetical candidates for Congress (all otherwise equal, with the exception of gender and parental status): Ann with children, Ann without children, Andrew with children, Andrew without children. Then they were asked how likely they were to vote for that candidate.

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Barely one in five Republican voters (21%) said they would support the female candidate with children compared to almost a third (31%) who said they would support the otherwise identical male candidate with children. This so-called “Mommy Penalty” is actually reversed for Democrats; for Dems, motherhood has the opposite effect. Interestingly, across parties, gender and parental status seemed to matter a great deal to men; for women, it had very little impact. (Does that mean if you looked only at Republican men, the results would be that much worse?)

Not surprisingly, more than half of Republicans (53%) in a related Pew poll from 2007 said that mothers with young children working outside the home was a “bad thing.” This is compared to just 38% of Democrats who expressed similar sentiments.

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For the rest of the poll results and analysis, you can check it out here.

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