NEW BRUNSWICK and MADISON, NJ – New Jersey residents perceive women as being more emotional and men as more aggressive, but other views on gender have evolved, according to the latest results from a new joint Rutgers-Eagleton/Fairleigh Dickinson University poll. 

The survey asked respondents whether various personal traits apply more to women or men, or whether there is no difference between the genders. New Jersey residents’ views both confirm and move beyond commonly held gender stereotypes, showing that some attitudes have changed and some have endured since Rutgers-Eagleton and FDU last asked about these traits in 2003.

Majorities believe there is no difference between genders when it comes to showing intelligence (80%), capable management (74%), ethical behavior (67%), manipulative behavior (60%), “people” skills (59%), logical or rational thinking (56%), self-centeredness (56%), decisiveness (55%), stubbornness (55%), or awareness of their surroundings (54%).

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However, respondents perceived stark gender differences in other areas and by wide margins. New Jerseyans deem women as more compassionate (62% versus 3% who say men), emotional (63% versus 2% who say men), and better listeners (57% to 5% who say men). A plurality also say women are better multi-taskers (47% to 8% who say men), though virtually the same number (45%) feels there is no difference between the two genders.

Women also edge out men when it comes to awareness (31%), being manipulative (27%), “people” skills (35%), intelligence (16%), morals (30%), and management capabilities (17%), although the vast majority thinks each of these traits equally applies to both.

New Jerseyans view men as more likely to be risktakers (50% versus 8% who say women) and more aggressive (56% to 6% who say women). They are also twice as likely to rank men as more self-centered (29%), decisive (28%), and stubborn (28%) though the vast majority says each of these traits equally applies to both.

“The endurance of gender trait stereotypes has consequences in the personal, professional, and political world,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Perceiving differences in men’s and women’s capabilities and personalities can impact everything from interpersonal interactions and household duties to hiring practices and wages to who we elect to public office.”

In this poll, 1,250 adults were contacted between March 7 and 22, 2019. Of those, 621 of were contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones, and 629 were reached through an online probability-based panel. The combined sample has a margin of error of +/-3.6 percentage points; the phone sample has a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points, and the online probability-based sample has a margin of error of +/-5.5 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish. 

Click HERE for the full release and tables.