The truth, though, is that other demographic characteristics have considerably more significance. A widely reported example is marital status. Fifty-three percent of married female voters went for Romney. Among single women, by contrast, Romney was about as popular as an extra 20 pounds; a mere 31 percent supported him. The gap between married and single women, then, is wider than the male-female gap that the media have been touting. …

Analysts offer a number of theories about the marriage gap: married women are more financially stable and therefore less reliant on government assistance; they care less about reproductive issues than about their pocketbooks and security; when they marry, they adopt their husbands’ political preferences. But the obvious reason for the marriage gap is that for several decades now, married women have become likelier to be white, educated, affluent, and older—demographic groups that leaned Republican in this election. Romney lost the black, Hispanic, and Asian vote, while he won the college-educated vote (though not post-grads), the votes of those making over $50,000 a year, and the votes of older Generation X-ers, Baby Boomers, and voters over 65. …

The chatter about the “largest gender gap on record” ignores one last surprising fact: women, like men, were less likely to vote for Obama in 2012 than in 2008. The gender gap expanded not because more women went blue but because so many men switched to red. Obama won the male vote in 2008 by 2 points; this year, again, Romney won among all men, 52 percent to 45 percent.