Political Animal


October 07, 2012 1:05 PM How an Obama Victory Hurts Republican Men

By Simon van Zuylen-Wood

In response to habitual conservative claims that polling firms are cooking the books in Obama’s favor, Jon Chait recently made the case that poll denialism was understandable, even if its reasoning was wrong.

A good deal of what undecided voters who are just now tuning in will learn about Romney is that he’s a loser disdained by fellow Republicans. Conservative rage over this fact may be utterly misplaced, but the sentiment itself is perfectly understandable.

The desire to vote with the winning team—regardless of party affiliation—is even stronger than Chait suggested. An essay in this weekend’s Sunday Review argues that all those discouraged Republican man are going to be even more depressed if Romney loses for psychological, rather than strictly political reasons.

Men who had voted for the losing presidential candidate, John McCain, suffered a big drop in their testosterone after hearing of his defeat.The scientists reported that the male McCain voters “felt significantly more controlled, submissive, unhappy and unpleasant.” The testosterone effect was “as if they directly engaged head-to-head in a contest for dominance” and lost, one researcher told a reporter when the study was published in 2009. The men who voted for Obama fared better. The researchers speculated that there might be an Obama baby boom.

No change, meanwhile, was observed in women’s testosterone levels. This evidence, as the author notes, suggests higher female voting rates may reflect the fact that women don’t let elections affect their self-worth. Pardoxically, it seems, hypercompetitive male behavior has made men less likely to fight for their own teams.

Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.


  • bleh on October 07, 2012 1:35 PM:

    I think the conclusion to be drawn is that intelligent and manly Republican men, knowing in their manly intelligence that Romney ain't quite gonna make it, should make the manly and intelligent decision to sit out the election in an intelligent and manly way. The manliness of their intelligence thus will be maintained by their decision, which they themselves made in an intelligent and manly way.

  • smith on October 07, 2012 2:49 PM:

    Funny to see this in light of recent uber-wingnut males' complaints that they are being neutered (Allen West) or that their penises are being shrunk (Limbaugh). Of course they blame feminazis, but maybe they are really just feeling the effects of coming to realize that they are basically losers.

  • c u n s gulag on October 07, 2012 2:50 PM:

    Oh, poor Coservative white males!

    Losing an election makes their limp elbow noodle-sized non-icky-lady-parts even limper?

    Anything that results in less progeny from white crackers is a GREAT thing!
    Possibly something that may change this country for the better.

    Now, if only we can convince them that to prove how much Obama sucks, and their own manhood, they need take their tiny d*cks and M&M sized cojones, and stick them into floor head rotating vacuum cleaners!
    That ripping sound, and subsequent shrieking, are the sounds of FREEDOM AND LIBERTY!

  • Diane Rodriguez on October 07, 2012 3:04 PM:

    Male Republican voters are overwhelmingly male and white, I would suggest that the power base shift parallels testosterone decreases. Especially, since that power base has been largely unopposed or the opposition has been dominated, change is a bitch. Witness the hysterical attempts to dominate and diminish women and minorities since 2010 through voter exclusion and the elimination of reproductive freedoms.

    I have a theory that conscious or not, all that restriction on reproductive freedom is an attempt to replenish the here-to-fore dominant group.

  • exlibra on October 07, 2012 3:59 PM:

    The scientists reported that the male McCain voters “felt significantly more controlled, submissive, unhappy and unpleasant.” --- NY Times

    Anything that keeps the SOBs more submissive, more under control, and less "productive" in their bedchambers is good, from my POV. Their unhappiness doesn't diminish my happiness a whit; after all, Romney's win would make a lot more people unhappy than just a small sliver of the old white males. It's when the "significantly more unpleasant" aspect gets factored in, that I get worried, because, often, their "unpleasantness" spills over onto others:

  • 14All on October 07, 2012 4:34 PM:

    Imagine what would happen if we ever actually had a female president. How fragile these poor souls are.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on October 07, 2012 5:11 PM:

    Duh. It's been obvious for a good long while that winning is far more than just a matter of getting to set policy for Republicans. That's really the only reason THAT they can win -- working-class whites sure aren't voting for them because of their awesome policies.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on October 07, 2012 5:44 PM:

    And my duh is not to invalidate this post by Simon. I think we absolutely should be talking about this angle. It's just that I've realized this intuitively for a while.

  • schtick on October 07, 2012 9:01 PM:

    This just proves that teapub men can't make it anywhere else and when they fail in the politics of their choice they show they have been and always will be losers.
    Ok, so I'm being harsh here. But it's true. The fact that they are elated to win when the only way they can win is to cheat, steal and lie shows me they have been and always will be losers.

  • bluestatedon on October 07, 2012 10:06 PM:

    I believe research would show the same phenomenon occurs in male fans of sports teams. I think Ed's testosterone levels took a nose dive considering what happened to the Dawgs on Saturday.

  • Dan on October 08, 2012 12:25 PM:

    I agree with the sports analogy, having seen it many times myself, especially the aggressive behavior before the game/election. Before the 2008 election my conservative friends chests were poked out so far you'd have thought they had breasts. I am seeing the same thing this time and if Romney loses they will certainly feel less manly. But that will disappear the next morning as they start claiming that it was all a lie and that the liberals cheated and stole the election (just like last time and the whole Birther nonsense). Bottom line, conservatives believe that only conservatives can legitimately hold office