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. Terry

    Well, DUH!!! They also do not understand or care about immigrants, working poor, middle class, seniors, students-the 99% of us. They only understand and serve the biggest corporations and the "Filthy Wealthy" few who give them the largest bribes....er, ah...."campaign contributions" to divert hundreds of billions away from the rest of us-our health care, retirement, our job security, etc.-to serve the privileged few. AND, they are flagrantly blatant and in our faces about it.

    February 7, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Another useless poll.

    February 7, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. tony in clt

    Thats a bogus poll ! it sounds more like the democrtas and liberals don't know and are out of touch with women!

    February 7, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Jerry McFadden

    Why is Obama still talking about pay inequities – why hasn't he done something about it? Oh yea, that's right .. You don't need to do anything about it to get the support of women, you just have to say you know about it and it's on your radar ..... some day .... maybe

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

    Did we need a poll to show us that? We are talking about a party that thinks the pill is used to control women's libido! I think "out of touch with women" is a gross understatement, it is a war on women.

    February 7, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. Obscure

    Problems of women in the US? This country gives women the most freedoms and rights of any country on earth, yet they want more. Maybe the other countries have it right. Give them less, so they expect less.

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

    Not sure why this is headline news for CNN.

    February 7, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. Sunshine0912

    GOP has no idea that women have moved on from the time of Jesus Christ !

    February 7, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Truth_is_Truth

    CNN doesn't need to look any further than it's politically motivated polls and coverage to understand why it's losing viewership. Soon CNN will find itself left of MSNBC rooting for Democrats and especially Hillary.

    February 7, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Jhoward

    I would like to see the polling questions and choices of answers. I would further like to know the sample areas and audiences, as well as the demographics of this and all future polls. It is long past due for us to have access to this information. I for one am tired of skewed results without all data being presented.

    February 7, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. glad to live up north

    Let's see the don't understand women, immigrants, Latinos, the poor, and definitely not the middleclass so how does any republican anywhere ever get elected???????

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Scott

    A messaging problem? More like a "We let slip out what we ACTUALLY think" problem. Republicans keep dismissing women's issues as non-existent, so why should women vote for them? After the Lilly Leadbetter Act was announced, all the Republicans came out of the woodwork to claim that pay disparity simply didn't exist, so the government didn't need to do anything about it.

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Jack

    How is this a Breaking News? Everyone knows this.

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. O'drama ya Mama

    Keep it up!

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. RNK

    The republicans do Not have a messaging problem. We know exactly what they are thinking. Unfortunately, they think that women should be paid less than men, women should not decide about their own health care, if women are raped – it's their own fault. they have been very clear about this.

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. ErnieS

    Bingo! The Dems are going to hit the GOP HARD right where it hurts. Women voters hate the GOP. Just another reason the GOP are going down the train.

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. anothermuse

    This is breaking news? I'm not even sarcastic about the topic, I'm actually asking CNN how a poll is in anyway headline banner worthy of being breaking new? What is the definition of news to these 24 hour networks? Just something to generate ad clicks?

    Please, please explain what justified this decision to use the same format you would use for a terror threat or something or something of actual importance?

    February 7, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. John

    Not to sound cliche, but "duh."

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. empathy4us

    So, close to 60% of all women think the GOP doesn't understand their problems and 60% of all women think the Dems do understand their problems. I suspect the numbers are worse for the GOP as it relates to the LGBT community, Hispanics and African-Americans and, therein, lies the problem for the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. KC

    Puh-leze *rme* GOP is out of touch with humanity period.

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Me

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

    But how many women democrats are in Congress? Man CNN is showing their true colors the past few weeks, might as well call the MSNBC lite they are acting worse, can't even do real reporting and give a good comparison!!!!

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. NotSoFast

    Frankly the US Government is a joke now...anyone with any faith in our "deMOCKracy" is just deluded and without credibility

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. redrock

    ya think???????????? Women, middle class, poor, farmers, ranchers, unskilled laborers,....must I go on??????

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. someoneelse

    No the GOP is not out of touch with women. Being out of touch is a false narrative propagated by the left and MSM.

    February 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Really?

    Really? Just now realizing this huh? The party of trash is out of touch with anybody NOT in the party...

    February 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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