According to Niven, “Women tend to take the prospect of a political campaign more seriously, and their campaigns reflect that. Even when a woman is running in a difficult district, she is likely to make a serious effort.” By contrast, Niven said, “Men will run for office at the drop of a hat. In long shot circumstances, men’s campaigns tend to be very amateurish.”
Niven’s measure of campaign sophistication is based on how many details candidates provided in their responses. Niven found that more successful candidates tended to answer questions with general, thematic responses, while less successful candidates wallowed in specifics.
As an example, Niven pointed to campaigns in Texas where one of the issues candidates faced was traffic congestion. “One woman who won her race spoke generally about her goals and the shared reality that ‘we all sit in traffic together.’ One unsuccessful male candidate got himself trapped in the confines of the questions and went into great detail, including discussing his hope for developing moving sidewalks like on the Jetsons.”