While the gender gap, or the political differences between men and women, has intrigued politicians and womens organizations since the early 1980s, the greater differences between married and single people, though first noted at about the same time, have received less attention.
But this survey shows that the differences between married men and married women are either slight or statistically insignificant. In contrast, people who do not live with a spouse are considerably more liberal and critical of Bush than are married Americans.
For example, polling of 1,641 adults conducted by the Annenberg survey from June 16 through June 30 showed that 54 percent of respondents either married or living as married approved of how President Bush was handling his job, while 41 percent disapproved. Among those never married, widowed, divorced or separated, 42 percent approved and 56 percent disapproved. The differences between men and women were much smaller. Men divided evenly, with 48 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving; unusually, women were slightly positive, with 51 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving.
Fifty-five percent of married women approved, as did 53 percent of married men. Just 43 percent of single women and 41 percent of single men did so.
Similarly, 32 percent of married people called themselves Republicans and 31 percent said they were Democrats, while among single people, 19 percent were Republicans and 38 percent Democrats. The gender differences were smaller; 26 percent of men were Republicans and 30 percent were Democrats while 28 percent of women were Republicans and 37 percent were Democrats.
Adam Clymer, political director of the Annenberg survey, said "Single respondents may be more negative toward Bush and the Republicans, when compared to married respondents, because they had lower incomes and were much younger, at a time when young people are least supportive of Bush." Men and women, he said, show much smaller differences in household income and age.
About half of the single respondents have family incomes under $35,000 per year, compared to about a fourth of married respondents, he said. And 52 percent of everybody in that under $35,000 income group disapproves of Bushs handling of his job as president, while 43 percent approves. Among those with higher incomes, 54 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove.
Thirty-eight percent the single respondents were 18 to 29, compared to just 11 percent of the married respondents. In that age group, where voting rates are lower than they are among older Americans, 50 percent disapproved of Bushs handling of the presidency, while 46 percent approved.
The margin of sampling error for the entire sample was plus or minus two percentage points. For men, women and married people it was plus or minus three points, and for single people it was plus or minus four points.