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. Joe

    The GOP... out of touch with women?
    You don't say?

    February 7, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Klaark

    "We need to lie better," – GOP.

    They're right, it's their only hope now. A dim one at that.

    February 7, 2014 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. spudnik56

    The GOP are out of touch with reality...

    February 7, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. leroy brown

    Sorry Cathy but it's NOT just the tone, it's the policies your party promotes too.

    February 7, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. Willy Nilly

    I have never understood women who claim to be Republican. The Republican platforms over many years seem to be in opposition to fundamental female issues. That doesn't mean I think that the Democrats are great at it, but they do better. Women care about children. To care about children means caring about education and housing and income equality and healthcare and grandparents and healthy food and water and social services and so on. To be a woman seems to be at odds to being a Republican.

    February 7, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. msadr

    It's not a "messaging problem". They are just plain on the wrong side of the issues. period.

    February 7, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. Geno Marcello

    Is the Democratic Party out of touch with women? Is the Llibertarian Party out of touch with women? Are Independents out of touch with women? Does anybody understand women, including women? And my final question, pray tell, is what kind of women are we talking about? Housewives, entrepreneurs, daughters, lesbians, politicians, beauticians or female police officers? Did I leave anybody out?

    February 7, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  8. Johnified

    Have you seen the ratings? CNN is out of touch with America, and this hit piece is a perfect example why. Is the GOP out of touch with women? Well, that depends on what women you ask. There is no such thing as a group of people who agree on everything, but that doesn't stop CNN and the left wing shills from categorizing everyone as if they're all the same.

    February 7, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. Out of touch with Reality - not just women

    Give them the benefit of the doubt – they're clueless about everything, not just women.

    February 7, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. JJ

    Ha! And you think you need a poll to find THAT out? LMAO!

    February 7, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  11. Salade Legume

    Out of touch with Reality would be more accurate.

    February 7, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Daisycutter

    The Republicans are not out of touch with women . The Democrats say that the republicans are out of touch with women , and when the Republicans counter that argument , the Democrats accuse them of lies .

    February 7, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  13. drake mallard

    They're anti-woman. Simple as it gets, We Get It, GOP. You Hate Women. We Get It.

    February 7, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  14. Willow S.

    As a woman who also happens to be Libertarian, I do have to agree that the GOP is out of touch. Now, please note that for many women, abortion isn't the be all, end all of the political stances. There are things that matter a lot more to me than that. I believe the govt. has too much power and spends way too much of our money on things they shouldn't be spending it on. Now, I'm also not religious so yeah, the GOP's social stances are a downer for me. I do agree with them on fiscal policy. But I have gay friends. I want them to have equal rights. I also want the person with AIDS or cancer to be able to have marijuana legally if nothing else works for their pain. Why should they have to worry about being arrested? So, yeah. I have issues with the GOP's stances on a lot of social issues. But I'm also fiscally conservative. That's why I'm third party and not a member of the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  15. Bobby's Girl

    I am a woman. I am also a conservative who votes mostly Republican. Does that lead liberals to assume that I don't understand or care about issues important to women? The flawed argument is that anyone, including a woman, who disagrees with a Democrat is not intelligent enough to comprehend what matters to females in this country. Worse, they have no compassion. Ridiculous.

    February 7, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. Violet

    The republican men do not respect women. They are 2nd class to them. They only care about telling women what to do like one of the congressman says, they most obey men. It reminds me of the remarks that Warren Jeffs said to control his church and look what a kook he turned out to be. They tell us we shouldn't have birth control and if we get raped, it is our fault. I am so glad I am not a republican. I feel sorry for their wives .

    February 7, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. Steve S

    he GOP love women.....to go back to the 1950s.

    February 7, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. Tychi

    The GOP is out of touch with everyone not in the 1%. They are ruled by corporations and money.

    February 7, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Jasmine Lindros

    The GOP is only out of touch with intelligent, independent, self-sufficient and self-confident women (the best kind!). They are, however, totally in tune with subservient co-dependent female children, some of whom may be over 18. Although I'm not a woman, I can't understand how any woman who values her own self-worth, AND the self-worth of any daughters she may have, could possibly support the misogynistic bigots of the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  20. Winston5

    wow, what a way to misinterpret figures. Yes they're out of touch, but IT'S ABOUT POLICY. Birth control, health screenings, freedom of choice, if the GOP weren't so gung-ho crazzy in the states maybe people wouldn't fear them so much nationally. I mean they're getting to be like Scientologists!!

    February 7, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. Betty Hendel

    In all honesty, I believe that neither of the two parties have any concern for anyone other than their own kind: the rich & powerful. They don't care at all about you or me. If we're not paying them for something other than their taxpayer-funded elitist lifestyles, they really & truly do not care, whether we be male or female. They do not care. If they can't buy our votes (welfare, disability SS insurance, food stamps, etc.), we are of no use to them and do not deserve consideration. Way to go, fascists. How far this country has fallen from the lofty ideals of our founders. The ruling class should be ashamed.

    February 7, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. steve55

    The headline for 50 years, "The rich Liberals are getting richer while the poor liberals that voted for them get poorer every single day." If you voted liberal you have gotten what you have asked for. The rich democrats live in gated communities behind tall walls guarded by armed guards to keep the poor liberals away. The Hollywood limo-librrals living in mansions, fly in jets and wave at the little people below.

    February 7, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. Fastway

    Republicans.
    They spend nine months getting out of the womb.
    And the rest of their lives trying to get back in.

    February 7, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. conoclast

    Who ya got left on the list, eh republicans? How about Rick Santorum?

    Now there's somebody who really understands women!

    February 7, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    The GOP can't seem to get it in their heads that the 1950s are over.

    February 7, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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