With only two weeks to go until Election Day, CNN's taking a serious investigative look into our country's undecided voters: hormonal women. I.e., all women. "New research suggest that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship," CNN reports, along with the title, "Do hormones drive women's votes?"
If you're still reading along and not prancing around in the other room, playing "He loves me! He loves me not!" as you pick petals off daisies that represent the presidential candidates you can't choose between because your uncontrollable hormones make it hard for you to make decisions, here's how the study worked:
In the new study's first experiment, Kristina Durante of the University of Texas, San Antonio and colleagues conducted an internet survey of 275 women who were not taking hormonal contraception and had regular menstrual cycles. About 55% were in committed relationships, including marriage.
They found that women at their most fertile times of the month were less likely to be religious if they were single, and more likely to be religious if they were in committed relationships.
I mean, sometimes I feel particularly like an atheist when I'm on my period, but maybe that's just because I'm single! Who knows, really, because I'm a woman so I'm CRAZY.
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%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers' overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.
Here's how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they "feel sexier," and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, she says.
"I think they're overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men," she said. It's a way of convincing themselves that they're not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said.
So "overcompensating" for slutty hormones = voting for Romney? Huh? We're making a whole lot of assumptions here based on an impressive amount of causation without correlation, aren't we?
Paul Kellstedt, an associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University, said that the paper fails to address that men also have biochemical changes and that "the reader may be left with the impression that women are unstable and moody in ways that extend to their political preferences, but that men are comparative Rocks of Gibraltar." And Susan Carroll, professor of political science and women's and gender studies at Rutgers University, probably had a hard time controlling her rage when she wrote, "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," adding that the research is part of a long and troubling history of using women's hormones as an excuse to exclude them from politics and other societal opportunities."
Despite these points of view, the question CNN posits is still: "Do hormones drive women's votes?" Maybe next time they should ask if most women play "Fuck, Marry, Kill" when they're in the election booth. It's equally plausible!
Image via Zurijeta/Shutterstock.