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. Roy

    The GOP is out of touch with reality.

    February 7, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The wives of the GOP are probably out of touch too because they don't have the same concerns of most women who don't have the luxury of living off a guaranteed tax payer salary.

    February 7, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Cindy

    A 40 year Democrat who has recognized my party isn't the only party who understands women. I think the GOP understands women more then we give them credit for and are fighting for our rights. I think the feminist movement must change, if we want true equality. Example abortion we want the right to abort but.. When do we start taking issue with our own lack of responsibility. Granted some will say I was raped or I have a medical condition that requires this abortion, so lets not give this right to abort up. Just maybe we should listen to the conservative view and try to accept some changes to the law. I think women if want to be called feminist, must show great courage and accept a higher standard for ourselves. I don't think we will be giving up anything but gaining true equality.

    February 7, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. yogi

    "Republicans push back against Democratic claims the GOP is out of touch on female issues and is waging a war on women."
    The GOP doesn't get it and never will. Whenever a republican stands behind a mic they always put one or more women behind him to show they really do care about women. They think that just putting a woman in the picture will convince the American people, they still think it is the message, and in the mean time they are putting so much lipstick on the pig that it is completely red.

    February 7, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. ironman59

    Is anyone with common sense really suprised?

    February 7, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. tara

    It would be hilarious that the GOP continue to fail to understand that their message that's the problem, not it's delivery, if it weren't so sad. I feel so sorry for the reasonable people who suffer under the heels of GOP politicians voted in by idiot neighbors.

    February 7, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Gwen

    I think that Romney will take another shot at it. Will he be able to convince Women that he is for them?

    February 7, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Mike Riley

    Being a Republican...

    If you think that government should stay out of your life...
    Then think you have the right to govern the lives of women... You just might be a Republican.

    If you believe with your friends that a corporation is a person and that a really BIG corporation is a really good person and deserves to have more rights than an old fashioned living, breathing tax paying person... you just might be a Republican.

    If you believe that the number one problem in the country today is that too darned many people are voting... you just might be a Republican.

    If you believe that our planet and it's natural systems... like climate, waters, land, minerals, ecosystems and all are doing just fine, thank you very much, then you just might be a Republican

    If you believe that wealthy people are more moral than poor people... you just might be a Republican.

    If you believe that every union is bad for America... you just might be a Republican.

    If you believe that minimum wage and welfare is WRONG!! and the government's bestowal of money grants, tax breaks, or other special favorable treatment on corporations is because corporations and the rich are way more needy than poor people... then you just might be a Republican

    If you think reality has a liberal bias... you just might be a Republican.

    But, on the other hand, if you believe that every citizen has basic human rights that deserve to be protected, if you believe there should be no second class citizens, that government should expand opportunity for everyone, that global warming is a problem, that corporations should not control or direct government but rather, that we the people of the United States of America have the right to decide the laws of the land then... You Just Can't Be A Republican!

    February 7, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Diane L.

    Republicans could have won this last election had Mitt Romney held on to his original vision. He worked in MA to obtain affordable health care and he had both the political and the business experience that I, as a Democrat, was willing to take a closer look. But then, as George Bush once noted, we were able to look into the soul of the man. The one that bent to the ultra right.

    Romney's words and actions epitomized what is wrong with the Republican party. They really don't have a clue. And the fact that Romney was so shocked on election night proves that point. More and more Americans believe that Republicans work hardest not for what is best for this country, but for who is going to get them (re)-elected. They want what they want and will obstruct or destroy anyone who disagrees. This is not helping the country. When the Republican Party recognizes that this country is made up of more than rich, white straight men, then maybe, I will take a second look.

    February 7, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. John

    Not only are republican out of touch with women, but they are out of touch with the American people.

    February 7, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Summary paraphrase: 'CNN wants everyone to think the GOP is out of touch with women so that when, as fairly likely, Hilary makes a run–hey, the democrats are in touch with women!'

    February 7, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. JG

    GOP is out of touch with EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that is not:
    a) A religious zealot
    b) A millionaire
    c) A corporation

    February 7, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Jim S

    Republicans have shown the same degree of insensitivity toward the unemployed, the under paid and the poor and middle class that they've shown to women. I guess we will find out in 2014 and 2016 whether women have bothered to notice this absurd treatment by them or not. Sometimes I wonder if women vote, since so many of these jerks have been elected and re-elected time and again and make their bias opinions known beforehand.

    February 7, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. GOP Sucks

    Republicans have nothing to show that they care about women, so they just spew the same old "liberal media" excuse.
    Enough of the whining. Take responsibility for the image you have created.

    February 7, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Chris C.

    Quite the contrary, it seems to me as though they touch a lot of women.

    February 7, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. frank

    Republicans are hopeless in understanding the issues of women. Republican men should be married to other men so they can not have daughters.

    February 7, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Bayley0402

    This sidebar blurb started with the word "NEW" There is nothing new about the GOP being out of touch with women. They always have been.

    February 7, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. bob

    Keep in mind that the
    RED STATES are the ones that take MASSIVE federal welfare while the
    BLUE STATES are the ones that CONTRIBUTE.

    In other words: The liberal democrats are CONTRIBUTING while the conservative GOP is TAKING.

    Reality is ALWAYS different than the one proposed by the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Roy
    The GOP is out of touch with reality.
    -------–

    Indeed they are, Roy. My favorite are the comments written by males voicing a "female" opinion.

    February 7, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. chuckt

    They are not out of touch with woman. Liberals are only trying to tell everyone they are to get their votes for the Democrats. America is listening only to what the general public is telling them. Nothing or no one is saying anything discouraging or against woman period. People only bring up abortion as something against woman when that is only driven by a religious belief. You could argue just as strongly that the democratic agenda is more strongly against woman. Health care dictates certain types of coverages and costs. this impacts woman. Current Demcratic president is paying his female staffers less than the male staffers. Busch paid his more...Hmmmmm... lots of incorrect information getting pushed by the media.

    February 7, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Kelcy

    To say the GOP is out of touch with women mischaracterizes the issue. The GOP just does not agree with the majority of women's viewpoints. Period. That isn't out of touch. That is complete disagreement. They truly want women to go back to the days before we even got the right to vote. They want women to remain "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen." Sadly, the GOP women believe the same thing. And that seems to correlate with the religiosity of the women. They are all for small government so long as that small gov`t controls the women but not the men. If you look at the age issue I think that is because the over 60 crowd were hitting their stride during the 60's and 70's when women were fighting for their rights. The younger crowd are more complacent because for them there was no fight. They were in the second and third waves. Now....you start to noticeably take away those rights and I am going to bet they will come up swinging. They just don't appreciate fully what is going on at this point. I remember the days when my elementary school principle would not let the girls do anything on the play ground during recess related to play except tether ball, hopscotch four square. The jungle gym, running around, playing ball were all forbidden to us.

    February 7, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. rla

    The progressives are masters of propaganda- BUT as women are begining to see there is no PROOF the propaganda has validity and 5 years after the deceiter in chief statted the divide and win culture of the left the reality of the lie is clear

    February 7, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. magicpanties

    Let's hope these women vote !!!

    February 7, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Miguel

    Now cut that number by married women vs single women and what you find is the GOP in fact is favored by most married women.

    It is the young naive woman and single mother that Democrats have a lock on.

    February 7, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. Artifex

    "Is GOP out of touch with women?"

    Duh.

    February 7, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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