February 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
2 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. Don

    The liberals are fighting a war on Christmas and the conservatives are fighting a war against women. Sounds about even to me. : )

    February 7, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. smithsd

    When will CNN conduct a poll that asks questions about our feelings toward Obama and the Democratic party? How about one like "Do you think the Democratic Party is out of touch with average Americans who want to work hard, earn a good living and not be penalized for success?". I think the response would be 100% YES.

    February 7, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. kathy

    WOMEN? - Hell, they're "out of touch" with REALITY.

    February 7, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Anonymous

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

    What a howler...like this Peggy is a R...LOL...LOL.....Did Bash And Paul verify this Peggy's voter registration?...LOL

    CNN should be the Comedy news network,,,,

    A poll of adults always skews towards the left cuz it includes all kindsa Folks....

    February 7, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. David Z

    The results of a poll now pass as breaking news on cnn's website? I am not even a fan of the gop but this is just ridiculous nonsense passing as news at its finest.

    February 7, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. jdalco

    sure they are, that is why they put Condy Rice in as Sec of State and put the first one on the bench of the supreme court. . . They may be out of touch but that would put the Dems as totally clueless on women. . . .

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Drew

    Don't know or don't care? Big difference.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Martin, OR

    The GOP will never get. These are rich folks that do niot know what it means to be poor, unemployed, and a minority. They are too aloof and we'll teach them another lesson come 2016.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. smithsd

    I think CNN is out of touch with most of America. Do a poll sometime that focuses on Obama and his shortcomings instead of always trying to find fault with the party that IS NOT in office.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Shaw

    Hmmm, let's see. CNN sees the Senate will likely be lost to the Republicans in 2014 Fall elections, courtesy of voters that want their country back, so they decided to run a push poll and plant a seed with women for the weekend. Having CNN taking a poll about how women feel toward Republicans is a little like having former President Clinton asking women about how they feel toward philandering men.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Mr. S

    This is a horrible statistic. 100% of men do not understand the problems and concerns of women.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Kolga Unn

    The problem isn't to elect more Republican woman to put a female face on the Republican Party for PR purposes. The problem is Republican policies or lack thereof in regard to women. Certainly education and equal paying jobs are issues, but you don't get there with trickle down economics. By the time the money trickles down to single mothers, elderly women and women trying to get ahead – it is barely a drop in the bucket. Add that to nasty, misogynistic Republican lawmakers' comments about things like rape and no wonder a majority of women will never buy into the Republican agenda.

    February 7, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. American Citizen

    Does CNN work for the Obama White House??????

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. John

    the GOP is out of touch with reality... its not just women they are out of touch with

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Adnan

    GOP out of touch with middle class America also.

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. JSmith

    Its a little early, but expected to start twisting the minds of independents before the election.

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. majorbatguano

    "GOP out of touch with women's concerns" .... can you say "DUH" !

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. J R Brown

    So, if FOX News polled their audiences....would we find that the Democratic Party doesn't relate to older white guys?

    I'm getting sick of "news agencies" trying to craft public opinion rather than just report the news. The Right Wing does it. The Left Wing does it. It's just getting too out of hand.

    Polls can be skewed to get the answers you want by how you phrase the questions....period. Polls should be outright banned as "news" because they're not news at all.

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Sal

    Actually the republican party doesn't care about anyone! 

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

    these are the same morons who claimed 90% of americans wanted gun control..

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. sigh.

    What problems of women? Its 2014 for God's sake, we're all equal, stop complaining.

    February 7, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Mark

    Yes, and they will come out by the millions to vote for Hillary. GOP...god awful politics steeped in history and self serving Christianity....not a good philosophy.

    February 7, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. chaing

    The reality is that the gop power base do not understand (or cares to) understand the majority of American's lives. They can't relate due to their own lives that are removed from the 'common man/woman'. How many really go to the grocery store, drive a car, pay bills (they have a crew of accountants) or even put gas in their cars! But they will try only to get the votes then back to the power elite.

    February 7, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. chris

    Majority of women have been saying men don't understand them for centuries now. But we do. I would also like to see a poll on what the majority says when it comes to women understanding politics.

    February 7, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. sbul

    Ellmers agreed, adding that "women across this country believe there's a discrepancy in equal pay for women. This doesn't boil down to belief this is borne by statistics not believe

    February 7, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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