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. Johnny57

    YES!!! the GOP is out of touch with women, and Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in if she runs in 2016 because of this!

    As far as things that could hold her back, Benghazi Schmengazi and Rand Paul should be fired.

    February 7, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. John

    Another question: Are the Democrats out of touch with the concerns of men? Anti-male affirmative action? Anti-male family court policies? Promotion of radical feminism? Yes, I would say the Democrats are waging war on men.

    February 7, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. milagros

    Most women are out of touch and get tiny bits of carefully crafted propaganda fed to them by celebrities. They would never put in the effort to listen to both sides of the story as told by both sides. That would require time and thought. Not going to happen.

    February 7, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Just becasue

    Where are the GOP spinning this story? PS – Bush had a 22% approval rating when he left office – that means he was out of touch with everyone! Still is! Just sayen...

    February 7, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. Tom

    An "objective" CNN "poll." Oh gees.....get me some oxygen....I'm about to pass out here! THAT'S a good one!

    February 7, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. keven

    GOP is not out of touch with women, it is simply their right to tell them what to do with their bodies, souls, children, based on their own values.
    That's it in the nutshell.
    They feel they have the right and power to decide these decisions.
    Bottom line ...

    February 7, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Sean

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    When reading those lines, Republicans think; " except for Latinos, Black people, Asians, Native Americans, women, gay people, Arabs, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, poor people or people who make minimum wage.

    February 7, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Kate Johnson

    I don't see a bit of difference in their platform from the 2012 election where they lost the election because of their positions on many women's and minority issues (which are entirely unchanged), so the women and minorities didn't vote for their candidate. No matter how they try "package" their position , since it hasn't really changed, neither has mine, nor I doubt the women and minorities that didn't vote for them in 2012.

    February 7, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. markiejoe

    No, the GOP problem is not one of tone rather than policy. It policy first, then tone. And the fact that the GOP politicians (including their women) think their problem with women is only one of tone just shows how tone deaf they are to the real political world.

    February 7, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Jack33

    It's amazing even this many rate the republicans well, considering how laughably out of touch they have become over the years. This is just one more reason they aren't going to see the Presidency for ages to come – they just can't seem to comprehend why America doesn't want leaders that only represent a small block of privileged Americans.

    February 7, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Rebel

    Women's issues? I thought women wanted to be treated equal to men, and I sure don't see any discussion about "men's issues."

    February 7, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Jimh77

    Majority say GOP out of touch with women? Wait, The GOP is out of touch with all Americans, not just women. All they care about are people like the Koch's and the like to feed their pockets. They really don't give a dam about America.
    If they did, they would work for the people. They have not worked for the people in many years now. Screw the GOP.
    Had they put someone up front other than Romney, I would have voted for him/her. I didn't want to live under Romney's wife's rules. But being hind sight is 20/20, maybe we'd be better off than we are now. O King Oboma is just creating a 3rd world Country out of America. Why has this man not been stopped yet?

    February 7, 2014 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Big Ben

    There is no room for women in the GOP. They keep women in binders.

    February 7, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Engineer in Raleigh

    Maybe Republicans should try some of this "small government" they are always on about, and stop trying to do thinks like force medical procedures like ultrasounds on women.

    Or don't, Republicans. Sane Americans stopped caring what you think 20 years ago.

    February 7, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. belinda

    We older women see the rights of our daughters, being thrown out the window. GOP men with big ego's think we aren't capable of making our own decisions. are they kidding ? This isn't the 1950's. Enough is enough. The GOP'S Prince Riebus, came out and stated that the GOP supported Todd Aiken's opinions, on Legitimate rape !!!!! If they were genuinely Anti abortion, they would support Birth Control. They do not. It's just a political tool to raise money. The morning after pill should be free to everyone who needs it. That will help to really, actually, prevent hundred's of thousands of abortions every year. Why do they oppose it's use ? It would stop the majority of money they get for reelections. Frauds.

    February 7, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Concerned

    CNN, the POTUS, feminists, et al ... Can you PLEASE stop playing the "gender pay gap" card? It has been proven over, and over, and over again that with all things considered equal there is NO PAY INEQUITY between women and men – PERIOD. In fact if there IS pay inequity, it is that WOMEN make more than men in the age group 20-28 age group.

    February 7, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. T. Storm

    They are no more out of touch with women or any regular folks than any other party. Let's face the bare facts, politicians are out ONLY to enrich & empower themselves. Fo rthe past 50 or so years they have not cared a rat's behind about women, middle class working folk or anyone, except those that elect them or finanace them. That goes for Democrats as well as Republicans.

    February 7, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Gunderson

    Eh,
    So why they even ask stupid question? Probably many who answer poll think GOP should pay woman's birth control. Everything should be free, eh. Old Gunderson try get gas free for his car. They make me pay! Now how that right? Free everything, no?

    February 7, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. GOP obstructs

    From the Center for Reproductive Rights' 2010-11 annual report:

    "The Center is hard-pressed to cite a time in the last twenty years that can rival - in volume and in severity - this most recent period of anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-health legislative action in the United States."

    February 7, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  20. Johnny57

    Although Christie may not be out of touch with women, his image is tarnished by the views of the socially conservative members of the Republican party.

    February 7, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Liz the First

    They're out of touch with REALITY!

    February 7, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Jo

    Well, when they argue against healthcare for all...

    February 7, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Nick

    Out of touch with women is an understatement. Sometimes the GOP appears to be on another planet entirely with respect to women.

    February 7, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  24. oneslydragon

    The GOP is not only out of touch with women, they are out of touch with reality. hey just have a great PR machine, lots of money and stupid people that vote for them.

    February 7, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. sberee

    its never an actual problem with the gop – its always just a 'messaging' problem isnt it? i would say that the organization as a whole is downright insidious but in reality they are just incompetent

    February 7, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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