Barbara Norrander, Ph.D.

University of Arizona

Country: United States (Arizona)

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Public Opinion

Political Parties and Interest Groups

Political Participation

Presidential Nominations

Primary Elections

Gender Gap

Party Identification

My Research:

I have written extensively on presidential nominations and primary elections.  Past research focused on the representativeness of primary voters, participation and vote choice in primary elections, and the effects of primary rules on the composition of primary electorates.  My latest book is The Imperfect Primary, 2nd edition (2015). My research on the gender gap explores differences between women and men in public opinion and voting behavior.  Past articles demonstrated  the development of gender differences in party identification and ideology, differences between men and women within the same party, and the history of the gender gap on political issues.


Journal Articles:

(2016) “Open Versus Closed Primaries and the Ideological Composition of Presidential Primary Electorates.”, Electoral Studies

Open and closed primaries electorates are more alike than different. This occurs because primary participation rules shape the party identification of voters --- closed primary states have more partisans and open primary states have more independents. Closed versus open primary states may have ideologically similar electorates because closed primary states draw on a larger, more moderate group of partisans and open primary states have asmaller, more ideologically extreme partisan groups only partially offset by independent voters.

(2008) “The Gender Gap in Ideology.”, Political Behavior

A gender gap exists in whether Americans view themselves as conservatives, moderates or liberals. Over the past decades while most men and women moved in the conservative direction, another segment of women retained a liberal identity. The issues that define the public's ideological identities also differ between men, whose ideology is somewhat more defined by economic issues, and women, whose ideology rests more on views of social issues.

(2006) The Attrition Game: Initial Resources, Initial Contests and the Exit of Candidates During the US Presidential Primary Season., British Journal of Political Science

Presidential nomination races often began with numerous candidates. Most of these candidates do not survive beyond the first round of presidential primaries. This article explores the factors that lead to quicker or slower-paced withdrawals from the presidential nomination contest.

(1999) “Evolution of the Gender Gap.”, Public Opinion Quarterly

The gender gap in party identification began as men left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party. This trend began in the South in the 1960s when southern white men left the Democratic Party at a quicker and more extensive rate than did southern white women. A gender gap also developed somewhat later in the north, but also arose as men left the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.

(1997) “The Independence Gap and the Gender Gap.”, Public Opinion Quarterly

Men are typically 5 percentage points more likely than women to identify as political independents. Meanwhile, more women than men identify as weak partisans. Demographic differences do not explain this independence gap. Indirect evidence suggests the gap is due to men placing greater value on separateness and women placing a greater value on connections with others.

(1989) "Ideological Representativeness of Presidential Primary Voters.", American Journal of Political Science

Comparing presidential primary voters to general election voters reveals few differences in ideological orientations. The article measures various dimensions of ideology, including extremism, political sophistication and psychological identification.

Books Written:

(2020) The Imperfect Primary: Oddities, Biases and Strengths in U.S. Presidential Nomination Politics, 3rd edition, Routledge

This book describes the historical origins of the current primary-dominated presidential nomination process, patterns in recent nominations, biases caused by rules and candidate behavior, and strengths and weakness of alternative nomination procedures.

Book Chapters:

(2018) The Conventional Versus the Unconventional: Presidential Nominations in 2016. In Winning the Presidency in 2016., Routledge

This chapter covers explanations for the presidential nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

(2014) “Primary Elections and Caucuses.” In Guide to U.S. Political Parties,, sage

This chapter covers the history and current use of both presidential primaries and the direct primaries used for most other political offices in the U.S.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2017) C-SPAN Book TV

. 15-minute interview about my book, The Imperfect Primary.

Radio Appearances:

(2016) National Public Radio, produced by KCRW (Los Angeles)

Panel discussion on the nature of presidential primaries.

Newspaper Quotes:

(2017) Cleveland Plain Dealer

“What Ohio Can Learn from Arizona to Eliminate Gerrymandering: Out of Line – Impact 2017 and Beyond.” Explained the process and outcome of redistricting with Arizona's independent redistricting commission.

(2016) Roll Call

. July 26, 2016. "Hillary Clinton Has an Edge as a Democrat, Not a Woman. " Explains how gender differences in political issues arose in the 1960s and evolved into recent decades.

Blog Posts:

(2016) Monkey Cage, Washington Post

Feb 26, 2016. Is Hillary losing the women’s vote? Nope. Here’s how the gender gap really works. Looks at the consistent gender gap in support of Hillary Clinton in the early 2016 presidential primaries.

(2016) Monkey Cage, Washington Post

. June 27, 2016. “Women vote at higher rates than men. That might help Clinton in November.” Demonstrate women were more likely than men to vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries, with a less consistent pattern of gender differences in the Republican primaries. Women also are more likely than men to vote in the general election, a trend that dates back to the 1980s.