What counts more: The fact that you’re a conservative or the fact that you’re a woman? In Texas, conservative women seem to vote as conservatives first and women second.
There’s no doubt about the relative ideology of the two candidates. Attorney General Abbott has consistently run as the conservative choice. So much so that the liberal Texas watchdog group Texas Freedom Network refers to Abbott as an “extremist.” And Davis has been called a “liberal folk hero” for her inspiring personal story and ferocious filibustering of an anti-abortion bill.
But when it comes to voting, more Texas women prefer Abbott. According to a poll of 559 registered voters conducted between April 10-13 (margin of error +/- 4.1%), Abbott has a 49 to 41 percent lead among women. About a third of women had a favorable image of Davis, while almost half had an unfavorable opinion.
Of course, this might not be a simple matter of conservatism trumping gender. Abbott has a much longer record in Texas politics. It would make sense for him to crush any opponent, no matter what gender. And it’s silly to think that there is a single “women’s” position on issues such as abortion, education, or the economy.
Nevertheless, conservative politicians have struggled to fight the image that they are conducting a “War on Women.” It doesn’t help when blundermouthed GOP leaders such as Todd Akin represent conservatism in the minds of many voters.
This news from Texas shows that conservatives can win among female voters. In Texas, it seems, women voters put their conservatism first, their gender second.