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Women vote with their periods!


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http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/2 ... ir-periods

While the campaigns eagerly pursue female voters, there’s something that may raise the chances for both presidential candidates that’s totally out of their control: women’s ovulation cycles.

You read that right. New research suggests that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship.

Please continue reading with caution. Although the study will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science, several political scientists who read the study have expressed skepticism about its conclusions.

A bit of background: Women are more likely to vote than men, other studies have found. Current data suggest married women favor Gov. Mitt Romney, in a 19% difference, over President Barack Obama, while Obama commands the votes of single women by a 33% margin, according to the study. And previous studies have shown that political and religious attitudes may be influenced by reproductive goals.

In the new study's first experiment, Kristina Durante of the University of Texas, San Antonio and colleagues conducted an internet survey of 275 women who were not taking hormonal contraception and had regular menstrual cycles. About 55% were in committed relationships, including marriage.

They found that women at their most fertile times of the month were less likely to be religious if they were single, and more likely to be religious if they were in committed relationships.

Now for the even more controversial part: 502 women, also with regular periods and not taking hormonal contraception, were surveyed on voting preferences and a variety of political issues.

The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers' overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

Here’s how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they “feel sexier,†and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, she says.

“I think they’re overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men,†she said. It’s a way of convincing themselves that they’re not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said.

Durante’s previous research found that women’s ovulation cycles also influence their shopping habits, buying sexier clothes during their most fertile phase.

“We still have the ovulatory hormones that have the same impact on female brains as across other species,†she said. We want sex and we want it with the best mate we can get. "But there are some high costs that come with it,†she said, particularly for women who are already in committed relationships.

This isn’t the first time hormones have been looked at in connection to voting. Last year Israeli researchers published a study in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology examined the stress hormone cortisol in voters in Israel. Levels of this hormone were higher in people right before they were about to vote than in the same people when they were not voting.

Durante’s study on women noted that liberal attitudes favor social equality and tend to be less associated with organized religion. Conservatism is more about traditional values and is linked to greater participation in organized religion.

The most controversial part of the study is not only that hormonal cycles are linked to women’s preferences for candidates and voting behaviors, but also that single women who are ovulating are more likely to be socially liberal, and relationship-committed women are more likely to be socially conservative, said Paul Kellstedt, associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University.

One of the major caveats this paper fails to address is that men also have biochemical changes, Kellstedt said.

“The reader may be left with the impression that women are unstable and moody in ways that extend to their political preferences, but that men are comparative Rocks of Gibraltar,†Kellstedt said in an e-mail.

Kellstedt does not study biology, but he has been involved in research suggesting that men’s political preferences are even more volatile than women’s.

“There is absolutely no reason to expect that women's hormones affect how they vote any more than there is a reason to suggest that variations in testosterone levels are responsible for variations in the debate performances of Obama and Romney,†said Susan Carroll, professor of political science and women's and gender studies at Rutgers University, in an e-mail.

Carroll sees the research as following in the tradition of the “long and troubling history of using women's hormones as an excuse to exclude them from politics and other societal opportunities.â€

“It was long thought that a woman shouldn't be president of the U.S. because, God forbid, an international crisis might happen during her period!†Carroll said.

A better explanation for the divide in voting preferences between single and married women is the difference in economic status, she said.

One expert gave it a little more credence: Israel Waismel-Manor, a political scientist at the University of Haifa in Israel, who did the cortisol study last year.

He's not sure that this hormonal effect Durante found among women isn't real, but offered an alternate explanation too: Research has shown women prefer more "manly men" when they are in their most fertile phases of the cycle. Obama and Romney are both handsome, in good physical shape and could fit the type of "provider of the family," so either could fit the ideal, depending on a woman's preference.

Assuming there is some hormonal explanation, the effects could cancel themselves out, since different women will be on different cycles when they vote, and the candidates have a similar level of physical attractiveness, Waismel-Manor said. A more elaborate research design is needed to examine it further.

"Even if the finding is correct, there's a chance that it won't have a cumulative effect on the electorate," he said.

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Is it my imagination or is there more of a backlash against women this election year than in previous years?

And if so, why?

Is it because we are finally, hopefully, within striking distance of a woman president and we're seeing the push back now?

It was bad four years ago when Hillary ran against Obama for the nomination, but I swear this is worse.

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To me, the attacks on women this election year are absolutely unprecedented, and I have been a voter for almost 3 decades. We are dealing with religious reactionaries. They know that momentum and time are not on their side, but they are going to go down nasty. They don't realize it yet, but they are dooming their quivers full of children to lower middle class subsistence.

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My social science background can't take this nonsense. How on earth is an internet survey getting into a peer-reviewed journal? No way these women are randomly sampled. Plus the sample is only 225 people. If 55% of them are in committed relationships (and ALL of the married women clearly are...) they are seriously failing to control for a lot of issues. Has this researcher considered that married women who aren't using hormonal contraception probably aren't representative of all married women? While married white women are a strong conservative bloc as it is, the ones who aren't using bc might be more religious than those who aren't. I'm going to stop there since that issue is strong enough to discredit this nonsense.

And +1 for the "unprecedented attacks on women" viewpoint. This is insane.

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Of course! Us silly women, thinking that we have things like opinions and values when we're really just manifestations of our reproductive systems.

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"The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers' overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney."

Wow, that is really poor use of statistics. It seems the number they focus on are the difference between the two groups holding hormones constant, which as they are making claims regarding hormones is completely idiotic. They ought to hold other factors (e.g. marital status, religion, ethnicity, age, etc.) constant while looking examining hormone levels, but I suppose that did not give them the sensationalist results they wanted.

It's widely known that younger people in general tend to be more politically liberal than older people, and that younger people are less likely to be in committed relationships. So this study tells us nothing new.

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Hmm, nice of them to lump "women" into a neat little category of biological females who menstruate.

A lot of women don't get periods, or were not born with female reproductive parts.

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CNN, where this was initially posted, eventually pulled this article, because they decided "upon further reflection" that it didn't meet their editorial standards. Would be nice if they'd reflect a little further before posting ridiculousness like that.

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I, for one, am completely shocked that this "study" didn't meet CNN's editorial standards :roll:

I'd have to be lobotomized to vote for Mitt Romney.

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If women are more likely to be religious when ovulating than not (or vice versa depending on relationship status), then there is either a significant portion of the female population whose views on God flip-flop twice a month or it's a sign that someone's study was flawed. I wonder which...

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I do a lot of things when I ovulate/have PMS/have my period. Some irrational, like the anger I feel for a few days at a time and can't control very well.

I do not, however, lost my mind. My emotions might be out of whack but I retain my common sense. Never, not ever, even with the worst PMS/symptoms, have my values changed.

If you're fickle enough that you believe hormonal emotions change your values - thus the way you vote - you're placing blame instead of dealing. I don't even like the idea of women (or men) voting, or making big decisions, based on an excuse.

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I do a lot of things when I ovulate/have PMS/have my period. Some irrational, like the anger I feel for a few days at a time and can't control very well.

I do not, however, lost my mind. My emotions might be out of whack but I retain my common sense. Never, not ever, even with the worst PMS/symptoms, have my values changed.

If you're fickle enough that you believe hormonal emotions change your values - thus the way you vote - you're placing blame instead of dealing. I don't even like the idea of women (or men) voting, or making big decisions, based on an excuse.

I get ragey just before my period, but for that to even influence my vote, the election would have to be on that particular day, and I'd have to have left my decision to the last minute. Both of which are unlikely, but on top of that, I don't think any amount of rageyness could change my political views. Ya know? Being on my period influences my mood, not my ability to think logically about things.

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Lol how insulting.

The only way my period affects me is making me more emotional and hungrier the week before. "More religious if committed" and "less religious if single"? the fuh?

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Can't have a Democrat win just because the little woman is having her woman-times. Quick! Everyone on the pill! Wait...

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Yep, I totally filled out my ballot with a pen full of my period blood! (lol nooo, I think that's technically bio-terrorism?
)

I believe most states require black or blue ink.

Filling in the ballot while on your period should be sufficient.

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So instead of voting with my vagina, I am supposed to vote with my ovaries?

I will need a very specialized pen. :dance:

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Guest Anonymous
My social science background can't take this nonsense. How on earth is an internet survey getting into a peer-reviewed journal? No way these women are randomly sampled. Plus the sample is only 225 people. If 55% of them are in committed relationships (and ALL of the married women clearly are...) they are seriously failing to control for a lot of issues. Has this researcher considered that married women who aren't using hormonal contraception probably aren't representative of all married women? While married white women are a strong conservative bloc as it is, the ones who aren't using bc might be more religious than those who aren't. I'm going to stop there since that issue is strong enough to discredit this nonsense.

And +1 for the "unprecedented attacks on women" viewpoint. This is insane.

In America today opinion pieces published on the web are considered to be reputable sources. Mittens cited one opinion piece as evidence that economists think his tax-break-for-the-rich scheme will work. America is in a state of crisis.

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In America today opinion pieces published on the web are considered to be reputable sources. Mittens cited one opinion piece as evidence that economists think his tax-break-for-the-rich scheme will work. America is in a state of crisis.

I'm more complaining that the actual study will be published in Psychological Science (which looks to be one of the top Psych journals) than the fact that CNN posted about it. While I will simply continue to roll my eyes when politicos cite dodgy pseudo-research and opinion pieces, I'm annoyed that this somehow passed peer review. Particularly when it's bullshit that furthers the stereotype that women turn into emotionally unstable nutcases during their periods. I mean, women are fairly well represented in the social sciences. Et tu, Academe?

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Well I suspect that if I were in the USA and election day coincided with ovulation, I would vote for Obama :D Probably in the hope that he would turn up at my house and 'personally thank me'. Your president is hot.

However if Romney won and the inauguration coincided with the end of my menstrual cycle, I would be the lone gunman (woman) on the grassy knoll.

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Hmm, nice of them to lump "women" into a neat little category of biological females who menstruate.

A lot of women don't get periods, or were not born with female reproductive parts.

Yup! I rarely get my period, if I do it's for 2 days and whoever wrote this can kiss my large white ass! :) Even when I DO get my period the only effect it has on my judgement is making me crave certain foods (chocolate, etc.). ROFL! :roll:

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So instead of voting with my vagina, I am supposed to vote with my ovaries?

I will need a very specialized pen. :dance:

:lol: Maybe you're supposed to get your uterus and ovaries to come to a decision together and tell your vagina how to vote! Or you're just supposed to vote with everything the Republicans want control over, which my friend has dubbed your lady parts. Cause them lady parts are just soooo scary to Republicans that they have to tell you what you can and can't do with them.

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I'm more complaining that the actual study will be published in Psychological Science (which looks to be one of the top Psych journals) than the fact that CNN posted about it. While I will simply continue to roll my eyes when politicos cite dodgy pseudo-research and opinion pieces, I'm annoyed that this somehow passed peer review. Particularly when it's bullshit that furthers the stereotype that women turn into emotionally unstable nutcases during their periods. I mean, women are fairly well represented in the social sciences. Et tu, Academe?

Seconded. I took a Psychology course in high school, and one in college as well. If I had submitted this "research" in either of those courses I would have gotten a big fat F, along with a WTH were you thinking speech. I cannot believe someone was able to pass this tripe off as an actual scientific study. :doh:

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