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Peters's personal charm and exquisite charm


According to research into voting at the last election the answer is a resounding yes.

Victoria University political specialist Hilde Coffe studied gender-based voting patterns at the 2011 polls and found no differences between the sexes in party preference - except for New Zealand First.

She discovered "substantially fewer" woman gave their vote to Mr Peters' party, in keeping with global trends showing women are more likely to support left-wing parties.

However, when it came to the other parties, Kiwi women were no more likely to vote for Labour or the Greens, or less likely to vote for National, suggesting something else is at work to turn women off New Zealand First.

Dr Coffe also analysed the so-called "John Key factor" to find out whether support and sympathy for the prime minister specifically as leader could resolve this puzzle.

But it seems women like him just as much as men.

"In fact, women and men were found to be equally supportive of John Key as prime minister and the rationale behind party preferences turned out to be quite similar for both men and women," she said.

Studies of elections in 1981 and 1990 also found no substantial gender differences, but previous research showed women voted Labour in greater numbers in 1996 election, when Helen Clark was leader.

Australian women showed the same sympathy and support for a female leader at the 2010 election, electing Julia Gillard as prime minister, Dr Coffe said.

Having a female co-leader in Metiria Turei did not give New Zealand's Green Party the same advantage, however, the researcher said.

The research is published in the latest issue of Political Science, New Zealand's professional political science journal.
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