After Tony Abbott became opposition leader, I think I was among the first, if not the first, to question the political class conventional wisdom that Abbott had ‘trouble’ with women. To me, it looked the like the sociological insularity of the political class, with its n= a-few-of-my-feminist-friends level analysis, could be leading it astray.
Unfortunately – and surprisingly, given the interest in the issue – none of the major pollsters have yet provided results from their routine party and leader preference questions by gender.
My hunch remains that female voters who would consider voting Liberal are not going to neurotically fret over federal non-issues like abortion, and will instead like other voters consider a bundle of the most salient issues relevant to them and the campaign. It’s quite possible that women and men will make different judgments on these, but Abbott’s Catholicism and the opinions that flow from that are unlikely to major factors in explaining any gender difference.