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. Kevin R.

    The repubs care about wealthy, white male neocons, what else would the good old club of the Grand Old Party be concerned about?

    February 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Dan Bowen

    What an absolutely ridiculous poll...nothing like a complete lack of depth in your questioning CNN...pathetic.

    February 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. airbornevet187

    Of course they are. They are out of touch with a lot of things. They generalize too much and don't use facts – i.e. "all government employees", "all poor people", "education just teaches...". If they did not have a propaganda machine to spin facts they would have suffered from the effects of reality and been gone a long time ago.

    February 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Ken

    That is because Republicans are mostly men and 100% of men don't understand women....

    February 7, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Kevin R.

    They dont care about women, the only time the GOP cares about women is when they are nocked up, and only to tell them what the can and cant do.

    February 7, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Idaho_Yayo

    Apparently CNN has forgotten that a) the GOP has plenty of women, and b) the majority a women (a larger majority than men, in fact) are against our current abortion laws.

    February 7, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Bryan

    Republicans are Democrats out of touch with the middle class.

    February 7, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. gleefulbarbarians

    I'm not sure we had to do a poll on something so obvious. All one would need to do is look at the election trends and headlines of the past year. I'm more concerned with the 45% who think the GOP does understand the issues of women.

    February 7, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Jeez Really

    I don't even know where to begin, as a single male who has his own business, has a great income, no wife, no kids, where is my due, why don't lobbyists, Democrats or the GOP pander to me, except the IRS? maybe no one really understands anyone which is why we are all in this crap hole TOGETHER, this country really has become liberal central with making sure everyone's feelings are heard, STOP PANDERING AND DO YOUR JOB GOVERNMENT, you will not win everyone's vote

    February 7, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. P

    A CNN poll says that the GOP is Bad at something??? I am shocked.

    February 7, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. byrdsoup

    Big surprise (not)

    February 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Brett in MN

    Lol. Article labeled 'NEW'. This is neither new, nor news. It is a sad fact of life that the Republicans are defined not by what they are for, but by what they are against (which is pretty much everything).

    February 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. V

    if such poll is necssary, poll should be for " whch party cares about women"?

    February 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. shak

    gop is out of touch with everyone except for old white men.

    February 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. TonyT

    GOP demands that women be Barefoot and pregnant, obedient to their husbands like the bronze age texts demands:

    1 Timothy 2:11-12 ESV

    "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet."

    Can I hear an AMEN??? After all, amen can't be said without the word "MEN"!!

    February 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. Lyn

    Well that's because:
    If I take birth control I am a you know what
    If I am pregnant than I really did not get raped and/or it would turn lemons into lemonade
    I should not need equal pay
    etc

    February 7, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. andrew

    In what way is this worthy of being considered Breaking News? Actually, is this even worthy of being considered news at all? I'm here to read the news, not be skewed in the political direction of the Editor.

    February 7, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Terry

    The dems are completely out of touch with basic economics. Guess what, there is no unending pile of money.

    February 7, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Mark

    The media loves the "woman war" All this over abortion that has changed in how many years?

    February 7, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Robert

    The majority of all Americans 51.9 % disapprove of obamas job approval and 51.6 % appose obamacare ,63.3% believe the country is going in the wrong direction according to real clear politics .

    February 7, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Jon Freddy

    What this article means to say is the only person that understands women is Hilary Clinton. Vote for Hillary in 2016!!!! Thanks CNN.

    February 7, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Mark

    Democrats make everyone poor. Not sure if you have been paying attention:)

    February 7, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. tony

    Republican message: Women should be barefoot and pregnant, but only by rich older men.

    February 7, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. gleefulbarbarians

    I don't think we needed a poll to tell us this. One would only have to look at election trends and the media over the last year. What concerns me more is the 45% who believe the GOP does understand the issues of women.

    February 7, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. brian

    The GOP is dominated by the Taliban Christians. These "Christians want to put women in their place – which they think is in the kitchen and the bedroom. Oh, and then their is "legitimate rape."

    February 7, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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