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Robert Johns, Lynn Bennie, and James Mitchell, "Gendered nationalism The gender gap in support for the Scottish National Party," Party Politics 18 (July, 2012), 581-601. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Researchers exploring the bases of support for political parties have typically looked to social and economic factors, pre-eminently class and religion. However, this approach has enjoyed only limited success when applied to ethno-regionalist parties in general (De Winter and Cachafeiro, 2002) and to the Scottish National Party (SNP) in particular. The nationalist basis of SNP support is unmistakable: those who feel Scottish rather than British and those who share the party's commitment to independence are disproportionately likely to support the SNP. Yet Scottish identity and support for independence cut across the traditional cleavages, and so analyses of the SNP vote have tended to emphasize heterogeneity, with researchers remarking on the party's ability to win support across social groups (McCrone, 1992: 164-6; Miller, 1981; Paterson, 2006). Furthermore, the few patterns that did distinguish SNP electoral support, such as relative strength among younger voters and relative weakness among Catholics (Bennie et al., 1997: Ch. 8; Kendrick, 1983), are gradually being eroded. In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, when the SNP became the largest party in Scotland for the first time, its support was even more than usually drawn from across the social and economic board (Johns et al., 2010).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Percentage SNP voting by sex, October 1974 to May 2007
Table 2. Effect of controlling individual variables on the gender gap in SNP voting
Table 3. Effect of adding cumulative controls on the gender gap in SNP voting
Table 4. Sex breakdown of membership of different parties
Table 5. Sex of membership by age group
Table 6. National identity by sex among SNP members
Table 7. Constitutional preferences by sex among SNP members
Table 8. Mean ratings of politicians by sex among SNP members
Appendix A: Data sources and variables used

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusions) Despite having had prominent senior female politicians, the SNP has generally polled better among men and has a disproportionately small proportion of women members. Popular speculation about the reasons for this has focused on two factors: first, fluctuations in the party's commitment to and record on gender equality in representation; second, on the party's leadership. We found some evidence that the gender gap in SNP electoral support in 2007 was partly due to the relative popularity of Alex Salmond among male voters. However, our analyses reveal a much more powerful explanation for the gender gaps in both electoral support and membership. The party's flagship policy is Scottish independence. Support for that option is a strong motivation both for its voters and its members and such support is markedly stronger among men than among women. This goes a long way to solving our puzzle.

Last updated August 2012