February 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
6 months ago

CNN Poll: Majority say GOP out of touch with women

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans, and women in particular, do not believe the Republican Party understands the problems and concerns of women today.

That's the headline from a new national poll that comes as Republicans push back against Democratic claims the GOP is out of touch on female issues and is waging a war on women.

Full CNN/ORC International survey results

According to the CNN/ORC International poll, which was released Friday, 55% of Americans surveyed say the GOP doesn't understand women. That number rises to 59% among all women and 64% among women over 50.

"That last number is intriguing, since older women are more likely to vote Republican than younger women. Yet younger women don't have as much of a problem with the GOP on this measure," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

"That suggests that the problem women have with the Republican Party may be related less to the policy positions the GOP takes and more related to the attitudes behind those policies and the tone the party takes when addressing them," he added.

Some controversial comments by Republicans over the past few years have fed Democratic claims the GOP is out of touch with women. The highest ranking female House Republican tells CNN her party has a messaging problem.

"When you look at our position on issues, a lot of times majority of Americans agree with our positions. But it's the way that we talk about it that doesn't resonate and we have to do a better job," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. "I think it's fair to say there have been some comments which are offensive and they're not representative of the entire Republican Party."

"There's more work to be done. Republicans are good at speaking from our head about facts and figures. We also need to speak from our heart and make sure people know that we care," added McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference chair and a rising political star who last week gave the GOP response to the State of the Union.

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina agrees the problem is more about tone than policy.

"We're concerned about education for their children. We're concerned about jobs, we're concerned about the success of women in this country. The problem is, for whatever reason, we haven't been able to articulate it as well as we should."

Republican women questioned in the poll say the GOP understands their problems and concerns, but the survey indicates independent women don't agree. Fifty-nine percent of independent women said they weren't pleased with the GOP's track record on such issues.

According to the survey, the Democratic Party does not face the same concerns: 63% of all Americans and 62% of American women say that the Democrats understand women.

Pay a problem

President Barack Obama received a loud applause in his State of the Union address when he spoke up in support of pay equity. McMorris Rodgers admits that by opposing Democratic plans to address the inequity for women without putting out their own plan, the GOP faces turning off women.

"Republicans need to recognize that, to be part of solution, in general bringing these work place laws into 21st century," McMorris Rodgers said.

Ellmers agreed, adding that "women across this country believe there's a discrepancy in equal pay for women so this is something we have to be fighting for."

The take at Tammy's Diner

At Tammy's Diner in a northern Virginia congressional district up for grabs in November's midterm elections, the GOP's women problem is on display.

"The Democratic Party is more aware of what is best for a woman, said Peggy Mackey, a Republican.

Michael Bertleson agreed.

"I think they're not as sensitive to women's issues as the Democrats are," he said.

"The more we get involved in government issues, the better things will be for women, urged Jean Bertleson, a Republican. "Get some more women in there."

And that's what Ellmers is trying to do. She is part of a party effort to recruit more female candidates.

"We're fighting so hard to get more women elected. we have to be more representative of the American public, Ellmers said.

But she and her party have a long way to go. Right now only 19 of the 232 House Republicans are women.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from January 31-February 2, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Senior Producer Paul Courson contributed to this report.

soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. Joe Sixpac

    The Koch coup attempt failed at the ballot box and it appears they have turned to arming their minions with AR-15's so they can literally hold the country at gunpoint.
    Vote, get your neighbors to vote, get your neighbor's family to vote. Instead of guns, use the most powerful weapon in the world...the ballot.

    Joe

    Joe

    February 8, 2014 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  2. SteveOfTx

    "We're concerned about jobs, we're concerned about the success of women in this country. The problem is, for whatever reason, we haven't been able to articulate it as well as we should."
    Articulation has nothing to do with it. It's the policies. Most republicans voted against the Lily Ledbetter act. Many of the GOP members in congress fight against equal pay for women. It's the republicans who want to stick probes into the private parts of women whether they want it or not. Words mean nothing. Change the policy and change the perception.

    February 8, 2014 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Wes Scott

    The GOP's only real problem is its philosophy ... and its messengers ...and its bigotry ... and its racism ...and its hatred of the poor ... and its Taliban ideology ... and its ...

    February 8, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  4. VA Teacher

    How clueless so many of you are. My gosh.

    February 8, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  5. TexanWarrior

    More leftist dribble. I can't believe these WendyDavis clones. Are they employed? Are they off their meds?

    February 8, 2014 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  6. John

    From the article, ""The Democratic Party is more aware of what is best for a woman, said Peggy Mackey, a Republican."

    I'm a man, but I would still venture to say that every woman is more aware of what is best for herself than any political party or special interest group. The outright ARROGANCE of our politicians is revolting.

    February 8, 2014 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  7. MollyBee

    Lol. Republicans always reference the way they "talk" about their policies. Translation: "We're not going to change our policies on anything. We just need to do a better job of fooling the American people into believing it." This is basically the manner in which the GOP has always operated.

    February 8, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  8. buffalo

    A better question would be what ISN'T the GOP out of touch with?

    February 8, 2014 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  9. Scott

    Oh NO! not the war on women again!!!

    February 8, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. simplyput

    Anytime you see a headline with "CNN Poll ", just remember that the sooner they can govern with polls, the happier they will be, the easier they make their jobs, and the loss of credibility just comes faster. Keep it up, CNN.

    February 8, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. simplyput

    The orc international people that CNN loves to use has locations strictly in blue states; usually northern with little or no GOP influence. How much bias do you need?

    February 8, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Kate

    There was no need to waste time and money on a poll--we've known the GOP was clueless for years.

    February 8, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. sifto

    A liberal CNN poll? seriously.....

    February 8, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Cathy McMorris Rodgers..??? She suppose to be the highest ranking female member of the Republican Party???? I've never even heard of her. Yea; the R's really want to address women's issues...NOT! Barefoot and pregnant is there theme.
    ...
    The highest ranking female House Republican tells CNN her party has a messaging problem.

    "When you look at our position on issues, a lot of times majority of Americans agree with our positions. But it's the way that we talk about it that doesn't resonate and we have to do a better job," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state.

    February 8, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. phil

    the gop's non support for equal pay for equal work indicates they still consider women as second class citizens
    and like some Middle East coultures should follow men or bring up the rear like their goats

    February 8, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Regressive

    @BillMyers you just proved another point about the GOP, no matter how much data, facts, evidence or straight talk the GOP is provided, if it doesn't fit within their ideology, it's a conspiracy, false data created by the left or whatever excuse they come up with for not facing the realities of a changing world and electorate. That's fine, but eventually it will only result in the diminish meant of the GOP. Which is sad, it used to be a party that had ideas I could really get my head around.

    February 8, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Silence DoGood

    GOP doesn't quite understand how you call women libido baby makers and tell them who they cannot marry and what to do their bodies, and THEN smile and ask for their votes and support.

    February 8, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Ron

    This must be true since it's a CNN poll!

    The Democratic Party is in touch with women?? Who could of guessed!

    February 8, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    "Is the GOP out of touch with women?"
    a) Yes.
    b) Extremely so, yes.
    c) Indubitably, yes. It's self-apparent.
    d) Q: Could I eat a bowl of alphabet soup and *** out a better position statement on women's issues than the GOP's? A: Yes, in fact, I could.
    e) No, if by "no" you mean "yes."
    f) All of the above.

    February 8, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. encie

    the old white men of the republican party need to come out of their cave,drop their clubs, and let the womens hair go.if they could stop trying to micromanage women like they do their businesses they may get a little more respect from the women of the world.

    February 8, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. HubieTruth

    GOPS stink, liar, love the rich & HATE the poor color doesn't matter it you poor they want no part us.

    February 8, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    Republicans need to respect women like bill Clinton and Anthony wiener and all the other creepy libs lol

    February 8, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Jen

    For the record, there are 16 Democratic female senators and 59 Democratic congresspersons, for a total of 75. Or, just slightly over three times as many female Democratic representatives as female Republican representatives.

    February 8, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. JD

    The President of the last five years gets applause for a statement he's made for many years yet done little about.

    Let them eat cake.

    The democrat party should be in power. They know the country better. Emotional. Easy to control with slogans.

    February 8, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Jodo

    obama cries about the GOP war on women, yet the obama white house pays women 18% less than their male counterparts.

    obama simply can not be trusted.... on anything.

    February 8, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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