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. Winston Smith

    Out of touch? Try not even in the same galaxy. Hell! they're out of touch with most living beings, but with women and minorities it's completely non-existent.

    February 7, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  2. the cynic

    Asking "is the GOP out of touch with women?" is like asking "is the sky blue?" or "is water wet?".

    The GOP has spent the past four decades capitalizing off of the resentment of old white men who feel like their privilege is being threatened by the tide of social progress.

    The chickens have come home to roost now, though. Unless the GOP can re-brand itself to not be the party opposed to any and all social progress, they will forever remain the political minority.

    February 7, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. Gord

    If there's a war on women it's 1-0 for the Dems based on Kennedy's Chappaquiddick

    February 7, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Jennifer Heelan

    Women voting republican might as well punch themselves in the face.

    February 7, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. bob

    The GOP is out of touch with everyone except the people who make the largest contributions to their campaigns, and we all know who they are. And if we didn't it we be easy enough to figure out just by looking at the Congressional Record. The bills they endorse and oppose make it pretty clear whose interests they are looking out for, and it ain't the average working Joe, that's for sure. And as for the working Jane? I mean, like, forget about it.

    February 7, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  6. dzerres

    These Republicans are delusional. Who do you think are members of the "all male" country clubs? Republicans or Democrats? I hate to generalize too much but most Republicans dislike women, minorities, gays, Jews, immigrants and non-rich and non-Christian people. Did I leave anyone out?

    February 7, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. Jeff Tartt

    I think CNN is out of touch with reality. Didn't the View just put some GOP women on to boost ratings?Is it the GOP or this new "Out of touch with reality" Liberal administration and it's followers who are out of touch with women?I know for a fact the President is!

    February 7, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  8. Margeaux

    Pay equity! It is 2014! Why are we still having this conversation?

    February 7, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. Maltytasker

    The GOP is already divided, and is driving minorities,women, gays, and young people away from their ranks. All that'll be left are angry old white men and NRA whackos. They'll have to ramp up their gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics even more, and even that may not be enough.

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

    A messaging problem? Ok. Yea. Honestly I don't know if it is stupidity or arrogance when I hear these guys make some of these idiotic statements about women. Maybe it is both, the worst possible combination... stupidity AND arrogance!

    February 7, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  11. tstorm92

    Fill in the blank, "The GOP is out of touch with "women", "gays", "Mexicans", "African Americans", "teachers", "firefighters", "police officers", "most of middle class America", and on and on.....!

    February 7, 2014 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Joe

    Yeah, like the Dems care. All they care about is your vote.

    February 7, 2014 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  13. John-117

    There are women and then there are feminists. Feminists don't want equal rights, what they want is advantages over men. Its only equality if women are on top. Hypocrites.

    February 7, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. Shane

    All of Congress is out of touch with reality. It doesnt matter if you are a donkey or an elephant, or any other ridiculous animal for that matter. They spend millions of dollars obtained from special interest to sit in Washington to pass legislation in support of their financial backers in order to appease their financial backers so that they can remain in power. Out of touch with women? They are out of touch with Everyone!

    February 7, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. my10cents

    As long as the GOP continues to support candidates and media personalities whom do not believe in gender equality then the party will continue to suffer from a lack of support across the female demographic.

    February 7, 2014 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. Art

    The GOP are out of touch with all normal people. The only people they are in touch with are the greedy, selfish, and prejudice.

    February 7, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. Chris Salzmann

    LOL.......is the sky blue???

    Republicans claim there is no War On Women and then say do or say something to prove that there's substance in that charge.

    February 7, 2014 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    It's not the message or the tone of the message. They don't even allow women on committees to discuss women's issues. And it appears republican women just agree with them to get their religious voters.

    And don't even consider a bipartisan meeting (including several women) on women's . The word bipartisan is out of their vocabulary, as is compromise. They think when they get 98% of what they want it is compromising.

    Let the 55 million republicans keep voting republican. The 88 million democrats will keep voting democrat.

    February 7, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  19. bill

    The GOP is not out of touch, they are just out of money...this is really just a money grab. Robinhood doing his work...

    February 7, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  20. Chris Salzmann

    Just wanted to add that, based on what they've said or done, the GOP is out of touch with:

    1) Women (2) Minorities (3) Younger generation (4) Hispanics (5) Immigrants (6) Gays (7) Anyone who's not "Christian" (8) Anyone who's unemployed or gets government assistance.

    Wow!!! That's a long list. It'll be a miracle if they win any Presidential election since you need a significant portion of (1), (2), (3), and (4) to win any Presidential election.

    February 7, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. Danny

    The GOP is out of touch with reality. Period.

    February 7, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. bill

    GOP has no problem with women; they are awesome. Let's all just give the fetus a chance that we would have wanted. Welfare dollars for unwanted babies would be strongly supported by the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. reply

    Kind of sad–when you ask a certain question a certain way you either get a positive or negative response. And, folks, CNN is liberal media.

    February 7, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. merajj

    just idiot liberal women who have no sense. I am a woman and a conservative, neither of the parties have a good hold on what women want or need. No party can be everything to everyone, you have to have personal responsibility and take care of yourself. I know that is an outdated idea but very true.

    February 7, 2014 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. holamll

    Berniecat, well I can tell you I had more money and paid out less in food and gas products when the GOP was in office. I wish they were back and hopefully in 2016 they will be.

    February 7, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
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