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. Leftcoastrocky

    The GOP understands the majority of white women ages 50-65 and highly religious women - but the rest of women, not so much.

    February 7, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Travis G.

    I think the real issue is that the ENTIRE government is out of touch with the ENTIRE population. We're not all Christian millionaires.

    February 7, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Uncle Huckabee " Uncle Sugar" , will tell you it's only a failure to communicate . The republican party is all about strong woman with godly like virtues , Angles in the kitchen , Devils in the bedroom .

    Rand Paul / Uncle Sugar
    It's Mans World 2016

    February 7, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  4. georgex9

    I guess that if the GOP pretends to be interested in women and Latinos that some will actually fall for it and vote GOP. They will forget about the ACA which was designed to give many uninsured medical insurance security. They may forget about some Republican governors not expanding Medicaid to cover thousands more. Just keep saying how welcoming you are to our women and Mexican American friends and put on a big smile.

    February 7, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. Quixote

    That is far too kind. Abusive of women's fundamental rights as people is more accurate. And you can add the same fot gays, blacks, Latinos, immigrants, working people, anyone not a Bible literalist, the elderly, the young, the educated.....the sane....

    February 7, 2014 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Richard Miller

    They consider women in the same manner as a rancher considers his cattle. Not too hard to figure out.

    February 7, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. hozo1

    GOP = party of the stupid and ill informed ... if you are not an old white guy .. they hate you. Period

    February 7, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. Lee

    It is incorrect to think that the young do not disagree with their policy. The young are just uninformed and don't understand the GOP positions on women's issues

    February 7, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  9. are122

    I don't know about the GOP but I don't know one woman who is happy about Obama care or can stand Hilary Clinton.

    February 7, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. Lisa

    They aren't just clueless about women, they are clueless about anything that has happened in this culture since 1959.

    February 7, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  11. kdrhodes

    I think anyone who believes that headline is out of touch with reality and needs to come back into orbit.

    February 7, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. Keith

    Any woman voting for Republicans is voting against their own best interest.

    February 7, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. Veronica

    "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."

    The problem is no one is articulating it. Instead the Republican party is focusing on anti-abortion laws and contraception restrictions. That is the reason they haven't been able to articulate it as well as they should be- they are not actually concerned about it!

    February 7, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. Dave

    Hey Republicans. More than half the electorate are women. You are going to lose so bad in the next elections.

    February 7, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. Richie

    If states like New Hampshire would only start electing women to the senate, this would be a good start.

    February 7, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. bob

    the GOP is out of touch with women, the non-affluent, science, the non-belivers in god

    February 7, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. Craig

    The GOP is out of touch with reality.

    February 7, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Robyn

    >> Is the GOP out of touch with women?

    No.

    The GOP is out of touch with Human Beings, the World and Reality.
    Women are only a tiny part of their problem.

    February 7, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Matt

    Mike Huckabee's recent comment about womens' libidos is irrelevant to this poll; it was totally taken out of context. His statement was an accusation aimed at the Democrats, not a statement of his own belief.

    February 7, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  20. Matt

    The GOP did not question whether women have a right to take birth control. That was a bald-faced lie by Rosa deLauro to start the "war on women" crap. Let's at least have a discussion of FACTS.

    February 7, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. ButterflysHS

    They have always been out of touch with women.

    February 7, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. sonnie3

    I can only speak for Iowa. We love and respect our women here. They are very important in many ways. We wish them the best and sure don't hold them back. As I said I will only speak for Iowa and it reaches across party lines. Hope the rest of the country will follow suit if they already have not. God Bless America and Bless our country's Women.

    February 7, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. Dan

    Can we all please stop using the phrase 'war on...' to describe anything but an actual war? I could buy a coke and be accused of declaring "war on pepsi." What phrase do we use when "war on..." begins to use it's rhetoric affect? "Democrats are committing genocide on democracy" or "Republicans have announced a gang rape on immigration reform." Why do we have to resort to ridiculous rhetoric?

    February 7, 2014 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. Jim

    I don't think they understand men's problems either.

    February 7, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Ted williams

    of course the repuyblicans don't understand women because there are no women in the republican party and no male republicans have female wives because they have a war on women according to the libs also. But the republicans hate women and gays right? so that leaves only single men as republicans then right?

    February 7, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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