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. Billy

    This is false. As long as the women have gone through menopause and like men–the GOP represents then just fine....

    February 7, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Bob

    Wow CNN, you are just going after the GOP today.

    February 7, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. John G.

    This comes as a complete surprise

    February 7, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. stumandoo

    Do you honestly believe after all these years the republicans are all of the sudden going to become part of the inequality solution. They will continue the politics of distruction and nothing else.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Abbey

    Women and gun owneship are on the rise. Now please explain how the Democrat party explains this one?

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. KeninTexas

    Hey CNN, your 'left" is showing.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Bwaha

    This is certainly not breaking news.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. dj

    Does that surprise anyone? The use every chance they get to demonstrate how clueless they are when it comes to things that concern women.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Simon

    So.... like most men then.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. tom l

    So let's run down this conservative, democrat hating site, Sniffit.

    In the past 2 days, we have "breaking news" that the GOP doesn't understand women in a poll, we have found out through the headlines that repubs are apparently opposed to any unemployment "benefits" (not long term UE, which what they are against and not "insurance" but the wordplay of "benefits", we have found out that overwhelming, according to CNN is 54%, we have found out that repubs hate each other (Christie and Perry), we have found out that only repubs put up fake websites, we now know that McMorris Rodgers is a crook, we also now know that Bush is still to blame for the economy, that backing by Koch is like being backed by a mass murderer, that Christie created supposedly a fake job and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Really Sniffit? And not once have I heard you complain except for when they show Kerry strumming a guitar and that makes him look unserious. Wowzer.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Nothing says "it's just a little messaging problem" like "we're going to close down almost all the women's clinics in this state by enacting requirements that the medical community says are completely excessive and unnecessary."

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Jackson

    "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.

    __________________

    You have that backwards. The GOP *does* speak from its heart. That is their problem. They truly believe the drivel they spout.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Albert

    I am at this point quite sick of feminist driven message of discrepancy in equal pay. IT DOESN'T EXIST. Stop pushing agenda that makes zero economic sense for crying out loud. When are men in this country going to wake up and shut these feminists' loud mouths once and for all.

    February 7, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Abigale

    GOP is out of touch with America

    February 7, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. nwobama

    I'm no republican but I wouldn't take any cnn poll seriously. Especially dealing with the subject of the gop

    February 7, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. diane

    Dear GOP:

    It s not about tone. You can say it nice and pleasant or angry and mean. Bottom line I don't support your policies on abortion, equal pay, gay marriage, healthcare, minimum wage and a host of other issues that I believe negatively impact women. And until you moderate your views, a lot of women will not support you. Plain and Simple.

    February 7, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. mrcasual

    CNN really needs to stop with these unbelievable Liberal only polls. When you practice Liberal bias 100% of the time then take polls from your Liberal base you have zero credibility.

    February 7, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. 66rock

    The old GOP doesn't know how to talk to women as they struggle with the realization that women are a majority, not second hand citizens. I'm not even sure why they continue to make any comments at all on rape, women's health care, etc. Give it up guys.

    February 7, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The brain dead GOP teaparty leadership is garrenteeing their LOSS of the house and to make that happen all you have to do is VOTE, the dems only need 17 seats, should be an easy win if you show up and vote. The GOP will be done for in Florida in November elections. They have done nothing down here!!!!!!

    February 7, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. John Nemesh

    Wow, next thing you know, Americans are going to say the GOP is out of touch and ignorant about the realities of economics! :)

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. guest

    Not exactly a valid sample size to make a claim that a "majority of Americans" have an opinion! 1000 people out of 315 Million does not an adequate sample size make CNN....can you spell: A-G-E-N-D-A!

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Yes It's Not

    I still don't understand what you guys are doing. Why don't you actually PASS policy that is in line with American women's values instead of just trying to APPEAL to women voters? That is your core problem. Right there. Instead of actually REPRESENTING women, you are just trying to trick them into voting for you. It is just sad. Desperation is not a color you look good in GOP.

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. MALANGRAD

    And yet again ... who cares?

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Make Me A Sammy

    Who cares now get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Kungfu Momma

    If it was legitimate concern for women, the GOP has ways of shutting that down.

    February 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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