Sexism Predicts Favorability of Women in the 2020 Democratic Primary… and Men?

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Considerable research has examined the role of sexism and vote choice, especially within the context of the 2016 presidential election. These findings are clear, consistent, and unequivocal – sexism hurt Hillary Clinton at the ballot box. However, the 2020 presidential primary provides an opportunity to examine sexism's effects on candidate favorability among a broader range of candidates. Using data on candidate favorability from the 2019 VOTER survey, I find that sexism is unsurprisingly predictive of lower favorability of women running for the Democratic nomination. However, I also find that sexism influences support for men running for the nomination, in a way that is statistically indistinguishable from its effect on support for women. This effect persists even among only Democratic respondents.