Effect of gender role threat on vote preference

This is a really important finding, and indicates something that we will very much need to find a way to fight, should Clinton be the Democratic candidate.


 Volumes of research in sociology have shown how men respond to perceived threats to their masculinity: in the face of personal or societal threats to their masculine identity, some men become more likely to endorse anti-gay stances, pro-gun policies, or anti-abortion views…

In the study, a randomized experiment was embedded in an otherwise normal political survey of likely voters in New Jersey. Half of the respondents were asked about the distribution of income in their own households – whether they or their spouse earned more money – before being asked about their preference in the Presidential general election. The other half were only asked about the distribution of income in their household at the end of the survey. This question was designed to remind people of disruption to traditional gender roles, without explicitly mentioning Clinton or a female president, and simulate the sorts of subtle gender-based attacks that can be expected when Clinton is a general election candidate.

The effects of the gender role threat question are enormous. As Figure 1 shows, men who weren’t asked about spousal income until after being asked about the Presidential election preferred Clinton over Trump, 49 to 33. However, those who were reminded about the threat to gender roles embodied by Clinton preferred Trump over Clinton, 50 to 42. Concerns about gender role threat shifted men from preferring Clinton by 16 to preferring Trump by 8, a 24 point shift…

The case that this is really about Clinton’s gender, rather than her party is made clearer by the fact that the same experiment has almost no effect on support for Sanders in the match-up with Trump.

This seems pretty compelling, and very worrying.


Analysis claims implicit bias in REF

A key part of the argument seems to be a comparison of REF ratings and citation metrics, which makes me a bit iffy about it.  Still, well worth a look.  Two bits that leapt out at me:

In general, if the actual REF grades are compared with those predicted based on citations, there is no apparent correlation. However, there is an evident trend that more theoretical/mathematical areas are favoured under REF compared with metric predictions, whilst more applied and human-centric areas are disfavoured.

In terms of the world rankings, an output in a more applied area, on average, needed to be in the top 0.5% (top 1 in 200) of its discipline to obtain a 4*, whereas in theoretical areas it was sufficient to be in the top 5% (1 in 20). That is, our panel scores did not at all reflect the assessment of global peers.


Finally, both the sub-areas of computing and the institutions disadvantaged by REF are those that tend to have a higher proportion of female academics. That is, the apparent disciplinary and institutional bias would be likely to create implicit gender bias. Indeed, amongst other things, HEFCE’s “The Metric Tide” revealed that the computing sub-panel awarded substantially more 4*s (top grade) to male authors than female ones, an effect that persists even once other explanatory factors considered.