Political Ideology Modifies the Effect of Glass Cliff Candidacies on Election Outcomes...


Political Ideology Modifies the Effect of Glass Cliff Candidacies on Election Outcomes for Women in American State Legislative Races (2011–2016)


Research on glass cliff political candidacies shows that compared to men, women are more likely to run for office in districts where they are likely to lose. We examined if party differences in whether female candidates face these worse conditions in the United States could account for persistent and growing party and state variation in women’s representation. Using election data from 2011 to 2016, we compared Republican versus Democratic candidacies at the state legislative level. We found that women in both parties faced glass cliffs in House races, but not in the Senate. For Republican women, glass cliff conditions accounted for worse election outcomes, but Democratic women were more likely to win when these conditions were considered. Variation in party by state measures of glass cliff effects were also found to explain state variation in women’s office holding. We found that for Democrats, more women win when more women run, but for Republicans, more women win only when the seats they face are more winnable. These results point to the role of polarized traditional versus progressive political ideologies in structuring the motives which underlie glass cliff conditions for women in politics, suggesting that practical solutions be tailored to party. To overcome the growing gap in women’s representation, current efforts to increase the quantity of women running would be complemented by a focus on improving the quality of contests they face, with Republican women most likely to benefit. Further research attending to the multiple sources of variation which impact gendered election outcomes can inform more targeted solutions for advancing equality.



Publikation Information


Sage Journals, Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ), Volume 45, Issue 2, pp. 155-177




Thousand Oaks




Weltanschauung – Ideologie