Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Science: female voters will determine this election cycle

Posted By on 10.24.12 at 04:32 PM

The choice is in your . . . hands
  • Greencolander
  • The choice is in your . . . hands
Update: Turns out the post ridiculed below "did not meet the editorial standards of CNN," and has been removed from the site.

Lately, women and their sympathizers have turned to Science to provide answers alternate to the sorts of wildly misogynistic claims that so frequently spring, like little Whac-A-Moles, from the mouths of office-seeking Republicans. Sometimes Science has lent its support. When Missouri congressman Todd Akin said that women might not get pregnant after being raped because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Science offered a sensible explanation: Science suggested Todd Akin said those things because Todd Akin was a fucking idiot.

But today Science has taken its leave of ladies. A blog post on CNN reports on the results of a new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, suggesting that women vote based on—well, let's let this article's lede explain it for us:

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.

Scientists surveyed 502 women, on the Internet, who had regular periods and who weren't taking hormonal contraception: "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%."

This seems abstruse, but there's a scientific explanation behind it, provided by researcher/psychologist Kristina Durante, who says that when women are ovulating they "feel sexier." So, the article continues, they "lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing"—(ouch!)—"but they tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues."

I decided to do a little Science of my own, since it's obvious that anybody can. "I noticed that you're a woman," I said to the woman nearest at hand.

"Is it because I have boobs?" she asked.

I then conducted a survey on the questions addressed in the U. of T. study. Do you feel sexier when you're ovulating? And does this make you more liberal?

"My views do not change with ovulation," she responded before turning the question around and asking me a highly personal question about my own body, which I declined to answer.

Science thus dispatched, I read on in the blog post to find that the study was challenged by another woman, Susan Carroll, a professor of political science and women's and gender studies at Rutgers who thinks it signifies the "long and troubling history of using women's hormones as an excuse to exclude them from politics and other societal opportunities."

The blog post advises a little bit of caution itself, disclaiming, in the third paragraph, "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." Political scientists, as opposed to actual scientists, who presumably took one look at the study and went back to laughing at Republicans.

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