Pollsters have found a huge gender gap among likely voters in the closely watched Senate race in North Carolina between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. In a recent poll, Hagan held a 19-point lead among women.

Meanwhile Tillis held a significant, though not as large, lead among men.  

How candidates are perceived by their gender is a research focus of Alixandra Yanus, an assistant professor of political science at High Point University. WFDD's Paul Garber spoke with her about how women will shape the 2014 election, with a focus on that U.S. Senate race.

Yanus says when a woman runs for office, her gender becomes an issue whether she wants it to or not. She says people perceive candidates differently, and that may or may not be an advantage,  depending on what voters are looking for. 

Yanus says campaign strategists are aware of those differences and work to use them to shape a message to their advantage.

Yanus will speak about the role of gender in politics on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Francis Auditoruim of Phillips Hall on campus of High Point University.

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