CNN Deletes Story About Hormones Driving Women to Vote

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 03:27 PM

By Stephen Feller

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With women a key demographic being chased by the presidential candidates, a study from the University of Texas, San Antonio suggested that women might lean toward one candidate based on fluctuating hormones surrounding their menstrual cycle.

CNN on Wednesday night deleted its report on the study after reader outrage over the suggestion that women’s votes could be tied to hormones, drawing even more scrutiny to both the study and the network’s decision to write about it.

The study was conducted by Kristina Durante, an assistant professor of marketing at UTSA, whose research centers on how social and physiological factors can influence decision making.

“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 percent,” CNN reported, based on Durante’s study. “This seems to be the driver behind the researchers' overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.”

The study included 502 women, asking them questions about their voting preferences. The survey sample focused on women who menstruate regularly who are not taking hormonal contraception. The original study, titled “The Fluctuating Female Vote: Politics, Religion, and the Ovulatory Cycle,” is not linked on the list of Durante’s journal articles.

Research such as Durante’s survey can partially be blamed for women being held back from positions of power over their reaction to hormonal imbalances, said Susan Carroll, professor of women’s and gender studies and political science at Rutgers University.

"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," Carroll said.

Although the original post has been removed from the CNN website, and replaced with an apology both for its absence and for the editorial choice to publish it in the first place, the story was picked up by Indiana’s WTHI and other websites across the Internet.


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