February 7th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. bro

    Not only out of touch with women, but out of touch with everything, they live in their own little world with blinders and ear plugs

    February 7, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Ugh29464

    Republicans fight for the rights of the un-born and then refuse aid for the very same beings once they're born. If they stopped basing their political beliefs on the teachings of religion more people might vote for them. They are intolerant dictators who try to force their beliefs on everyone else, especially women. How any woman can vote Republican all the way down the ticket is beyond me. On the flip side, Democrats seem to love spending money with little thought to the long-term consequences. We really need to support and strengthen third/fourth/fifth parties.

    February 7, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. mkat2

    What nonsense! ( I am female) The truth is; the ENTIRE Government, both sides, is out of touch with '51%' ..... of the populace!!

    February 7, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Andyesc

    Not only are they clueless and view women as property, a piece of jewelry to show off.
    BUT Power and control is all the rich really want, why else would they care so deeply for an egg and cut food stamps and medical help for the child once they are born. Control plain and simple! A women with a child is easy to control and keep down.
    As is low wages and high cost of living.
    Bravo GOP

    February 7, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. wiken999@gmail.com

    Let's see, there are millions of women married to republicans, they all have mothers, and at least half have daughters.. Let's not forget nieces, aunts, etc. So, what was the point again? How about doing s survey on how many military personel, and vets think democrats are out of touch with tyhem. The liberal media is always looking for negatives when it comes to republicans. I suppose they think our democrat leaders are doing a fine job. If not, they can always blame Bush.

    February 7, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    CNN Poll: Majority say GOP out of touch with women...

    IT TAKES A FRIKKIN POLL TO DETERMINE THIS????

    February 7, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. cal usa

    I can understand why the GOP feels it's all about messaging. They have succesfully convinced Americans that a tax on people who become rich by inheriting millions they did not earn is a "Death tax". They convinced many that the Affordable Care Act would create Death Panels that would deny us coverage, when in fact that's what insurance companies do. They sold us the war on Iraq and that tax cuts for the wealthy would trickle down and not increase the deficit. To paraphrase Newt Gingrich – it's not what we do it's what we say that matters. Or as Senator Kyl put it, it's not meant to be factually correct.

    February 7, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. rudy

    Yes, absolutely GOP is out of touch with far left winged Liberal Women. You are right.

    February 7, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Grumpster

    Are you kidding me? The GOP is out of touch with everybody but the extreme right wing nuts and equally extreme religious nuts.

    February 7, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Wildernessyes

    The GOP is out of touch with everyone, has been for a long time.

    February 7, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. David B.

    The GOP is out of Touch with Human Beings Period.

    February 7, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. sayer

    The GOP wants to control women.

    February 7, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. jack

    The GOP is basically divorced from women. The only thing missing is the women didn't get half their stuff.........

    February 7, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. ari

    "Right now only 19 of the 232 House Republicans are women."

    lol, >90% of the party is male. and then they wonder why people see the GOP as a bunch of out-of-touch old white dudes. SPOILER ALERT: it's because y'all are.

    February 7, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. oldbones24

    "some comments which are offensive and they're not representative of the entire Republican Party." But the people that support them DO believe the comments. Maybe it's time to change directions.

    "speak from our heart and make sure people know that we care," but you do speak from your hearts, that's the problem. Money, money, money. They show the wrong kind of favoritism, Corp Welfare.

    "we haven't been able to articulate it as well as we should." it all sounds like plain English to me.

    "Get some more women in there." Absolutely, just make sure they're not a puppet.

    "we have to be more representative of the American public," you think so?

    February 7, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    The GOP is the party of Sharia Law.

    February 7, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. EP

    a. Voting against equal pay for women.
    b. Voting 5 times against the “violence against women act” before reluctantly voting for it
    c. Combating the contraceptive provisions in Obamacare (with the rest of Obamacare)
    d. Supporting legislation at the state level that is effectively banning abortion and pushing similar legislation in Washington
    e. And more…..
    These are not “tones”, these are actions and policies.

    February 7, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Hans Gruber

    And the Democrats are in touch with anyone but those that leech off government payments?

    The liberals have destroyed the Middle Class

    February 7, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. EP

    a. Voting against equal pay for women.
    b. Voting 5 times against the “violence against women act” before reluctantly voting for it
    c. Combating the cntraceptive provisions in Obamacare (with the rest of Obamacare)
    d. Supporting legislation at the state level that is effectively banning abortion and pushing similar legislation in Washington
    e. And more…..
    These are not “tones” these are actions and policies.

    February 7, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. John Graham

    The Republican party has lost touch with everyone. Not just women. It's like they live in a bubble. And quite frankly, the same goes for Democrats. Our government is bought, sold, traded, and resold again to the highest bidder. Republicans object to raising the "barely livable" wage to a "less likely livable" wage, but they support CEO salary increases. The former hinders productivity, results in job loss, but the latter doesn't. Hmm. What logic.

    The American Worker's productivity has increased, where'd that money go? Not your pockets. So, for you Republicans still voting Red, go, vote against your interests. And you Democrats still voting Democrat, please make the Dems actually EARN your vote. I mean, really guys!

    February 7, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. Willllburrrr

    What I don't understand is why any woman would vote repub. That's insane.

    February 7, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Fred G. Sanford

    The GOP is the only party that is fit to lead American women into the 18th century.

    February 7, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Johnjon

    does anyone remember daddy Bush going through a grocery checkout ? he was amazed with a bar code scanner. that was over 20 years ago, and the GOP is even more clueless today.

    February 7, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. Craig

    If Rodgers is their spokesperson, the problem is obvious. She openly lied during her SOTU response, and was then offended when she got called out about doing so. She IS part of the problem, claiming to support equal pay for equal work while voting against the bill providing for that.

    February 7, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Serge Storms

    The problem with the Republican party is not that they are out of touch with women. The problem is that they are out of touch with reality. Granted, the same could be said about the Democrats, but the inept Democrats actually appear modern and sane, if you compare them to the Republican clown car.

    February 7, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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