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Mary-Kate  Lizotte - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Mary-Kate Lizotte Mary-Kate  Lizotte

Associate Professor of Political Science | Augusta University


Lizotte is an expert in public opinion and can share insight on the role the COVID-19 pandemic plays in the 2020 presidential election.






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Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte on Candidate Perception in the 2020 US Election



Dr. Lizotte earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from Stony Brook University. Her research interests include political behavior and gender and public opinion. Much of her work is concerned with the origins and implications of gender differences in public opinion, often referred to as "gender gaps." In additional to her work on public opinion, she also has published research on the gender gap in voting, political knowledge, and party identification. Her work has been published in edited volumes as well as Politics & Gender; Journal of Women, Politics & Policy; The Social Science Journal; and Journal of Conflict Resolution. She teaches undergraduate courses on American government, Congress and the Presidency, research methods, and Public Policy Analysis.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Gender Differences in effect of attractiveness on political candidacy

Gender Differences in Political Interests

Gender Differences in Public Opinion

Media Appearances (2)

Men and women have similar views on abortion

Vox  online


Even before this Trump-era widening of disagreement about the desirability of a larger and more activist government, this was a bigger gender gap than was registered for abortion-related questions. Similarly, according to Augusta University’s Mary-Kate Lizotte, an expert in the gender gap in political behavior, “attitudes about military force exhibit a gender gap of 8 to 12 percentage points on average, with women less supportive of military interventions such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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The role appearance plays in politics

News Channel 6  online


Our friends at Augusta University have played a key role in helping us understand complicated issues, helping us go beyond the headlines, and with the midterm elections right now really in full swing, we wanted to touch on something that we don't usually tackle in the political arena, and that is the way that a candidate looks, their physical appearance, and the role that it may or may not play when it comes to your decision at the ballot box...

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Articles (7)

How Gender Shapes Public Opinion in American Politics


Claire Gothreau


"There are a number of theories for gender differences in issue preferences. Some of these explanations only apply to certain gender gaps in public opinion, while others could apply to most or all of the documented gaps. For example, differences in anxiety, risk aversion, and threat perceptions apply to the gaps on gun control and the use of military force. Women’s propensity toward higher levels of anxiety, risk aversion, and perceived threat could drive their desire for stricter gun control laws and their opposition to wars. Among authoritarians, who are sensitive to threat, women are more likely to favor gun control while men are less in favor of restrictions on access to guns (Lizotte 2019). Among individuals with higher levels of perceived terrorism threat, women are less supportive of the use of torture to prevent future terrorist attacks while men are more supportive (Lizotte 2017). This explanation could also apply to differences in climate change attitudes," said Mary-Kate Lizotte, associate professor of political science at Augusta University.

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Negative Effects of Calling Attention to Female Political Candidates' Attractiveness

Journal of Political Marketing

Mary-Kate Lizotte, Heather J. Meggers-Wright

2018 Given the focus of the media on female candidate appearance in the 2008 presidential election, this research investigates the effects on voter evaluations of calling attention to female candidate attractiveness...

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The gender gap on public opinion towards genetically modified foods

The Social Science Journal

Laurel Elder, Steven Greene, Mary Kate Lizotte

2018 Ever since genetically modified (GM) foods were introduced into the food supply in the 1990s they have provoked debate and concern...

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Political experience and the intersection between race and gender

l Politics, Groups, and Identities

Tony E Carey Jr, Mary-Kate Lizotte

2017 Prior research has treated political experience as if it had similar effects for every candidate...

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The Abortion Attitudes Paradox: Model Specification and Gender Differences

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy

Mary-Kate Lizotte


Rather unexpectedly, prior work has failed to find consistent gender differences in public support for legal abortion. Given that gender differences in public opinion emerge for a wide range of other issue areas, it seems paradoxical that there is no consistent gender difference on the issue of abortion. I propose that this failure to find a consistent gender difference is due to how abortion attitudes are modeled. Controlling for religiosity, which research has shown women to score higher on, results in a small and consistent gender gap in support for legal abortion with women more likely than men to support.

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Investigating women's greater support of the Affordable Care Act

The Social Science Journal

Mary-Kate Lizotte


Healthcare reform has recently dominated the political agenda. There is a consistent gender gap in healthcare policy preferences, and women are more likely to support the Affordable Care Act than men. This study investigates two explanations for the origins of this gap, which connect to a larger debate in political behavior whether symbolic versus self-interest reasons drive public opinion. The humanitarian hypothesis tests whether gender differences on pro-social values, such as humanitarianism, account for the gender gap in healthcare attitudes. Second, the economic security hypothesis tests whether these gender differences emerge because of women's self-interest due to their higher levels of economic vulnerability. There is support for both hypotheses, and each partially mediates the gap. Together they fully mediate the gender gap.

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Explaining the Gender Gap in Political Knowledge

Politics & Gender

Mary-Kate Lizotte


Much scholarship has noted that there are significant differences in the political behavior of women and men. Women, for example, are found to be more likely to identify as and vote for Democrats, less likely to hold conservative issue positions, and more likely to vote for incumbents. One of the more disturbing gender gaps occurs in political knowledge: Specifically, women are typically found to be less knowledgeable about politics and government than their male counterparts. We propose that much of the gap can be explained by theories of risk aversion, which imply that women are less likely to guess on questions for which they are uncertain. Using item response models, we demonstrate that failure to consider these gender-based differences leads to scales that significantly underestimate the political knowledge of women. Consistent with other work in this area, we find that accounting for the higher propensity of men to guess decreases the gender gap in knowledge by around 36%.

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