Young Women Are More Liberal Than Young Men

Change Research, led by a team of Gen Z and Millennial pollsters, conducted a poll of 1,033 voters between the ages of 18 to 34, from August 25-September 1, 2023. The modeled margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.4%. This analysis also pulls from a representative survey of 3,197 American voters conducted earlier this year (May 22-31, 2023, MMOE +/-2%).

This report highlights the stark ideological differences between young men and women in the United States. In public opinion research, it’s not unusual or unexpected to find significant attitudinal, behavioral and cultural differences among men and women. However, it is striking to observe just how divergent these differences are among young American voters, more so than exists in any other generation.

Differences in Political Beliefs

The data from our May poll point to a significant degree of cohesion among young women, a majority of whom are liberal or progressive, whereas men under 35 are quite polarized. This gender gap is most pronounced for 18-34 year olds. There is a 21-point gap between the percentage of women and men under 35 who consider themselves to be progressive or liberal. This gap is slightly smaller among those aged 35-49 (18 pts). However, this gap collapses among the 50-64 (9 pts) and 65+ (7 pts) age cohorts. 

In the same poll, we see that young men and women also have vastly different impressions of capitalism and socialism. Men in every single age cohort have a more positive view of capitalism than socialism, especially among those 50 and older. Women aged 35 to 49 are equally likely to have a favorable view of capitalism and socialism. However, women 18-34 are almost twice as likely to have a positive impression of socialism vs capitalism. Among women in this age group, having a positive view of socialism is still a minority opinion, but it’s clear that few hold capitalism in high regard.

 These ideological differences between men and women translate to the coming Presidential election. In our September poll of voters between the ages of 18-34, we asked voters how they’d vote in a 2-way race between Biden and Trump. The results show Biden has a 40-point lead among women 35 years and under, but the two are statistically tied among men of the same age. 

  • Biden/Trump matchup: 
    • All <35: 58% Biden, 30% Trump, 12% Not sure 
    • Women <35: 65% Biden, 25% Trump, 9% Not sure 
    • Men <35: 43% Biden, 41% Trump, 16% Not sure

Given their discontent with both Biden and Trump and despite their lack of familiarity with Cornel West (67% have never heard of him), approximately 1 in 5 young voters indicate they would consider opening the release valve by switching their vote to the Green Party if given the choice today. When describing the election as a 3-way race, Biden’s support drops by 19 pts, whereas Trump’s vote drops by just 3 pts. Polls this far out typically overestimate third-party vote, but shares this high should concern each major party. This decline comes disproportionately from women, although West has appeal among both genders. 

  • Biden/Trump/West matchup 
    • All <35: 39% Biden, 27% Trump, 18% West, 16% Not sure 
    • Women <35: 45% Biden, 21% Trump, 16% West, 18% Not sure 
    • Men <35: 30% Biden, 39% Trump, 18% West, 14% Not sure

Views on Abortion

The top political issue of the last election cycle—abortion—remains highly salient among young voters, especially among women. Three in four young voters believe abortion should be legal in all (52%) or most (23%) cases, while 17% think it should be illegal in most cases and 8% think it should be illegal in all cases. Views on abortion are a vote motivator for more than half of young voters: 55% say they will not vote for a candidate with a view of abortion different from their own. This includes 62% of women and 42% of men. 

State bans on abortion are motivating young women to leave their state:

  • 60% of women are/would be more motivated to move to another state now that/if their state passes a ban on abortion 
  • 29% say it makes no difference 
  • 12% are/would be more motivated to stay in their state 

Media Fragmentation and Culture Wars 

Men and women are relying on information sources to different degrees. YouTube is broadly accessed by both women (74%) and men (82%), but men (57%) are significantly more likely than women (34%) to be using YouTube as a news source. Women are more likely than men to access Instagram (78% of women, 61% of men), Facebook (71%, 58%), TikTok (49%, 26%), and Pinterest (31%, 4%). Fewer Millennials and Gen Z access Twitter/X, but men (33%) are more likely than women (22%) to be using the platform. 

Women (32%) and men (36%) are nearly equally likely to consume podcasts but are listening to very different programming. From a list of chart-topping podcasts, men most commonly reported listening to The Joe Rogan Experience (32% of men podcast listeners) and The Ben Shapiro Show (24%), while women are most likely to be listening to The Daily (21%) and This American Life (14%). As discussed in the next section, this consumption of Joe Rogan’s podcast is a big for a lot of young women. 

Differences in media consumption are reflected in the genders’ views about canceling, though it’s unclear whether media sources are a cause or effect in this case. Just over four in 10 men (42%) think that canceling is “a common and serious problem”, compared to just 19% of women. Views among women tend to be more diverse with roughly equal portions thinking this issue is serious as they think it’s really just accountability for problematic behavior. 


When it comes to dating, it’s clear that the personal is very, very political, especially for young women. Men and women have some common “green flags” they look for when seeking a partner, including reading, researching the best deals and rates before buying and looking better in person, but there are significant differences in how some political values are prioritized. 

Additional top green flags for women include saying “Black Lives Matter,” taking candid pictures of you, and identifying as liberal.

Top green flags for men are not being on social media, saying there are only two genders, owning a gun, and preferring cow milk over any non-dairy milk. 

For women, top red flags include identifying as a MAGA Republican, having no hobbies, saying “All Lives Matter” and that there are only two genders, being so unbothered they never ask for details, identifying as a communist, listening to Joe Rogan, identifying as a conservative, refusing to see the Barbie movie, and not caring about politics. 

For men, top red flags are identifying as a communist, having no hobbies, identifying as a MAGA Republican, being so unbothered they never ask for details, saying “All Lives Matter”, and being into astrology.