February 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
5 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. MaryM

    The American Women can see for themselves all the anti women legislation passed in the red states and signed into state law by red state governors. The American Women are the largest voting block in America. And we will Vote

    February 8, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Randyk

    Republicans don't know they're waging a war on women because it's just standard operating procedure for them and has been their entire lives. It's like telling a fish that it's wet.

    February 8, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Dave

    The women have joined minorities, military and gay/lesbians. Honestly, any military, government civilian, woman or a minority and you vote republican you seriously need your head examined.

    February 8, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. rs

    It's not just women- the GOP is pretty much out of touch with everyone on most things.

    February 8, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. rs

    In summation- GOPpers have used insane terms like "Legitimate rape"; "Uncle Sugar"; and passed a whole host of law restricting women's' rights over their own bodies, and their ability to vote.
    Mr. Romney lost the female vote by 12 points. The GOP is destined to be the old, white guy club- nothing more.

    February 8, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  6. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Guns over People tea potty wingnuts talking about their libido really helps.

    February 9, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  7. Bernard Webb

    "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."
    ----
    This 100% focus from the right on blocking, delaying, thwarting, repealing, and stopping, with as far as I can tell not a single positive policy proposal in any area, is turning off more than just women. It's turning off Americans. What kind of a campaign slogan is "Everything the government does is horrible and must be stopped – so vote for us"?

    February 9, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. momma g

    Enough is enough!! I'm a 54yr old mother of 4 ... in the last 10 yrs have survived a predatory loan that thanks to bank deregulation policies set into place during Reagan administration "legally" stole our home, watched as our hard earned savings was erased by investment fraud and coporate manipulation, lost our 30+yr business due to economic collapse within our community! We are now both working 2 jobs and barely hanging on! We refuse to quit (we have children to provide for) NO MORE GOP!!!

    February 9, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  9. momma g

    I have a bill I'd like to present to our esteemed legislators... ALL members of government should have to pass a breathalyzer before being allowed into session!!! If they leave for lunch then they have to resubmit before afternoon sessions!!!! They have absolutely no problem interfering with our daily lives so ... fair is fair! This arrognant "privilaged" self-serving class society was the reason for orignal

    February 9, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. momma g

    I have a bill I'd like to present to our esteemed legislators... ALL members of government should have to pass a breathalyzer before being allowed into session!!! If they leave for lunch then they have to resubmit before afternoon sessions!!!! They have absolutely no problem interfering with our daily lives so ... fair is fair! This arrognant "privilaged" self-serving class society was the reason for orignal Declaration of Independance.

    February 9, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  11. Doug

    Then how come more white women voted for Romney in 2012??

    February 9, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Pete

    GOP outta touch with everyone but themselves..Doesn't that pretty much cover it..These politically inept,selfserving traitors only bow to one master and its the corporate type that fill their corrupt pockets...Romney is a perfect example of one only thinking of himself ,I'd give examples but I'd be here all day that's how much praise he heaps upon himself ...Probibly has welts on his back for patting himself so much...Hey sheep hang on tight to your precious republicans at midterms when they drive over that political cliff because you upon voting for them pretty much deserve a free ride for once but watch the fall it'd gonna be a doosey...

    February 9, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. tnrmadness

    Uh oh... Looks like CNN is already setting up the Hillary 2016 campaign... You all know sexism in the new racism. What a joke. This would be like "A Fox News poll shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of Obama..." Oh wait, that is true.

    February 9, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. sarahS

    I heard Paul in an interview and he brushed off the women's pay issue, which was so funny. He was dismissive on women's issues saying there were no women's issues which was hysterical. Offensive to hear, but just hysterical that anyone could be so obtuse.

    February 9, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. sarahS

    They want to force women to maintain pregnancies against their will and force them to give birth against their will. I mean, who would ever trust having someone in a position of power who has such hatred for women? Do you trust your dauhters, grandaughters, future female generations of your family to ruled by such men???? not me.

    February 9, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. rs

    Doug
    Then how come more white women voted for Romney in 2012??
    ______________
    The point you miss is that women over all- Romney lost the female voter demographic by 12%.

    February 9, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. southerngent

    Download the poll, read the methodology, 29 dems, 23 repubs, 48 indep (not likely). All polls would have a control to measure against. 29 agree, 23 disagree, 48 split 50/50. Control would be 53 to 47, automatically left leaning.
    How many were men/women? What was religious makeup? What was state makeup? What was age make up?
    Too many missing variables! Extreme bias!

    February 9, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Laura

    The liberals old "War On Women" does not work any more. We (younger gen.) can see that old Democrats are out of touch with reality.

    February 9, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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