Political Experience and the Success of Female Gubernatorial Candidates
2. Literature Review
3. Data and Analysis
3.1. Dependent Variables
3.2. Independent Variables
5. Conclusions and Directions for Future Research
Conflicts of Interest
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- 1In 1992, Article IV Section 1 in the Rhode Island constitution was amended to change the governor’s term of office from two years to four years beginning in 1994.
- 2Because of the possibility of the results being impacted by outlier cases, we examined the variance, min/max, and histogram of the dependent variable. There is no evidence suggesting a particular problem. The variance is 78 with a maximum value of 59.2 and a minimum of 20. The histogram shows a somewhat normal distribution with a slight right skew but without obvious outliers that would impact the results. To stay consistent with the Oxley and Fox  article about women in elective office across the states, we use the same OLS approach. The concern about outliers was more of a concern for us when we conducted the logistic analysis. Therefore we also estimated it using exact logistic regression and rare event logit (which is more common in political science). There was no substantive difference in the results suggesting that there is no problem with outlier cases.
- 3Using Squire’s  work as a model, we examined the possibility of a more comprehensive measure of candidate experience. He develops a more comprehensive measure for US gubernatorial elections which ranks different types of offices in an ordinal measure and then multiples that value by the percentage of the state population in the official’s constituency. However, that measure is not applicable to our analysis for several reasons. First, his highest category includes former governors and U.S. senators; however, there are no women with such experience who have run for governor in the general election. Therefore, that part of the measurement is not applicable. Second, as mentioned in the text, even his more comprehensive measure assigns a constant value to all lower statewide officials. They are given a score of 4, which is then multiplied by 100 since they all represent 100% of their states’ population. Third, the data include two female U.S. House members who ran for governor. Although it is problematic to include a dummy variable with only two positive cases, we estimated the equation with a separate variable for congressional experience, with congressional experience included with statewide experience based on Squire’s claim that it was similar, and with those two cases excluded from the analysis. Congressional experience was not significant as a stand alone variable and none of the results for the other variables were significantly different under any of those scenarios. Therefore, to isolate the impact of statewide experience versus all other types of experiences, we present the analysis with the simple dichotomous measure.
- 4The Berry et al.  measure of ideology is only one of those used in the literature. In addition, we estimated the equations using the Enns and Koch  and Windett  state public opinion and female sociopolitical subculture measures respectively. The results were the same. Like the Berry ideology variable, neither the Enns and Koch nor the Windett measure achieved statistical significance and neither the significance nor the coefficients of the other variables were substantially impacted. Because both of those measures are only available until 2010 and the Windett data does not begin until 1978, we show the results that include the Berry measure so that we do not lose the 1976, 2012, and 2014 elections from our analysis.
|Level of Office||Women N = 81||Men N = 50|
|Total Lower Level Statewide||50.6%||29.4%|
|Treasurer, Comptroller, Financial Officer, Auditor, and similar positions.||18.5%||5.8%|
|Variable||OLS Coefficient (Vote Share)||Robust Standard Error||Logistic Regression Odds Ratio (Winning)|
|Female Candidate with Statewide Elective Office Experience||3.21||1.86 *||4.17 **|
|Male Candidate with Statewide Elective Office||4.78||2.31 **||1.94|
|Open-seat Elections||4.67||2.18 **||13.53 **|
|Women in State Legislature||−0.08||0.14||0.95|
|Variable||OLS Coefficient (Vote Share)||Robust Standard Error||Logistic Odds Ratio (Winning)|
|Female Candidate with Statewide Elective Office Experience||5.47||2.14 **||4.38 *|
|Male Candidate with Statewide Elective Office||5.31||2.55 **||1.30|
|Open-seat Elections||4.13||2.51||8.57 *|
|Women in State Legislature||−0.02||0.15||0.99|
|Democratic Female Candidates||Republican Female Candidates|
|Variable||Coefficient||Robust Standard Error||Coefficient||Robust Standard Error|
|Female Candidate with Statewide Experience||5.39||2.22 **||−2.68||3.83|
|Male Candidate with Statewide Experience||5.19||2.48 **||0.62||1.52|
|Open Seat Elections||4.21||2.53||3.54||4.19|
|Constant||35.83||2.42 ***||38.45||2.74 ***|
|N = 55; Prob > F = 0.00||N = 26; Prob > F = 0.5|
|R-square = 0.30||R-square = 0.29|
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O’Regan, V.R.; Stambough, S.J. Political Experience and the Success of Female Gubernatorial Candidates. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5020016
O’Regan VR, Stambough SJ. Political Experience and the Success of Female Gubernatorial Candidates. Social Sciences. 2016; 5(2):16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5020016Chicago/Turabian Style
O’Regan, Valerie R., and Stephen J. Stambough. 2016. "Political Experience and the Success of Female Gubernatorial Candidates" Social Sciences 5, no. 2: 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci5020016