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. Rick McDaniel

    Not really. Women are out of touch with the fact abortion is being over used, and used entirely too late in the term. Rather than face that truth, they just demand zero restrictions on abortion, so they don't have to admit, they are abusing abortion.

    I am pro abortion, but I have seen the evidence of the abuse of it.

    February 7, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. Abbey

    N.O.W. and the Democrat party are obvious partners in all of this political drama. Start with them before discussing out of touch issues.

    February 7, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    No – they're messaging is just fine. Their messaging reflects their policies and that's where the problem lies. Look at their stand on equal pay. Look at their stand on reproductive rights. Look at their stand on obtaining birth control through their insurance, just like any other prescription. Look at their stand on Planned Parenthood, which does SO much more than arrange abortions. I'm sure there are many other examples The Republicans are out of touch with a majority of Americans on these issues. I'm more surprised by the number of women who support the Republicans than I am by those who do not.

    February 7, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Robert

    Not only is the Tea GOP out of touch with women, they are out of touch with main street 'America.

    February 7, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. ptw

    GOP is out of touch with reality. Their attacks on women is all about patriarchal control.

    February 7, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. Martha in CF

    They are out of touch on almost everything. The women need to get together and vote them out of congress seeing they think we are second class citizens. I don't believe this year is 1920....

    February 7, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. Big_D

    Why is this on the front page? Everyone knows the GOP hates women and women's rights including equal pay. The GOP committed FRAUD by putting up fake websites to steal money. That is criminal and a real story.

    February 7, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Scott

    Both parties are out of touch with the people; you pick a side, stand by it, pretend it's better than the other.

    February 7, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    The left keeps pushing the story that the GOP has a war on Women, and that is absolutely false. This is the same approach they took while spending $200 million during the 2012 election to tell lies about Romney and credited him with things he never said and actions he never did. Even Obama admitted that some of the ads "were over the top".

    February 7, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Lucas

    The idea that the GOP is out of touch with women is incomplete; the GOP is out of touch with DEMOCRAT WOMEN. GOP women are just fine with the GOP.

    Democrats work very hard to maintain the illusion that they are champions of women, but in the end they are just the champions of abortion, (which actually kills far more baby girls than baby boys each year- look it up! For some reason girls are considered more "expendable" in many countries).

    February 7, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. CC333

    When I look at Hillary Clinton and her possible run for President, I am very torn. Her career path is just wonderful and is a great role model, but her marriage to Bill Clinton disaster. I think her personal life, which will play apart in a possible election is not in the best interest of women. Hillary decision's inside her marriage is not the direction a woman should follow, it shows her to be very weak, fake and is demeaning to all women.

    February 7, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Ben Sisko

    IS the GOP out of touch with women?

    No women are out of touch with reality.

    And I'm a democrat

    February 7, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Larry38363

    I think when you look at the Republican Party of today and the Communist Party of the USSR of yesterday, you won't see much difference. Lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to have power and money and ensure that The People have none! Unfortunately, there are enough uneducated people to keep them in power for a while. Fortunately, they are dying off faster than they are recruiting new recruits!

    February 7, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Mike in SA

    For one thing, the Republicans need to call out the purposeful misrepresentation regularly trotted out about how "big" the "disparity" is between what men and women make. Many university apples-to-apples studies show that when comparing men and women doing the same job, for the same continuous number of years of experience, with the same educational background, etc., men out-earn women by only 4-6%, not the 76 cents to the male dollar baloney the Dems gladly and purposely throw out to mischaracterize the issue. The only way you get that large a disparity is by comparing unskilled retail counterpersons and at home day care workers to skilled electricians and oil field workers who work long hours, in dangerous environments, hundreds of miles from home. I'm all about making up that 4-6% but as soon as somebody tosses out that dishonest 76 cents on the dollar tripe, my ears shut of and so should everybody else's regardless of gender. Dems aren't looking for pay equality, they're looking for pay superiority.

    February 7, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. harpomang

    Nobody understands women am I right? am I right?!

    February 7, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Tony Serrano

    The GOP is also out of touch with everyone else...including the GOP.

    February 7, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Anthony

    Please tell me we are not so narrow minded to notice the GOP are ONLY disconnected with woman?? They are disconnected from men, the American people and reality. They should all go work at the Federal Reserves. They just said they don't care that 1.7 Americans haven't paid their rent, electric, water, phone, gas and garbage for January and that WITH BABY'S (Me one of them) are going to the street or I am lucky enough to have a dad that's helping. IF you woman want to be productive then make sure our children aren't exposed to such anti-American politics and resolve. Teach them of America pre W.

    February 7, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. M'lynn

    The GOP isn't simply out of touch with women, they are out of touch with reality and floating down that river in Egypt for decades!

    February 7, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. kamarasune

    What this really measures up to is that the left trying to frame an election run for Hillary by building a platform all about women's issues rather than the state of the entire union which is dismal at best.

    All in all you can't skirt the real issues that face America by trying to frame the conversation about just women and I believe most women including myself realize that....

    February 7, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. jeff6187

    Given the number of high ranking women in the GOP, and the horrible McCain-like way they usually are forced to sell their consciences to join, it'll be a LONNNGGGGG time before women realize equal respect in the party.

    February 7, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. harpomang

    Seeing as though the poll included a higher percent of democrats than republicans (click the link and check out their sample), you'd expect these results regardless. Notice how there are no actual statistics of significance either. Also, what kind of question is that? I'd wager that neither the democratic or republican politicians "understand the problems and concerns of women." Give me a break.

    February 7, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Brian from DC

    Well DUH! Did they actually pay someone to tell them this?

    February 7, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. ND4190

    I definitely feel as if the Republican party is out of touch with women. It does not care about reproductive health and wants to restrict their rights to do whatever they want with their bodies.

    February 7, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. James

    The GOP is out of touch with planet earth

    February 7, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. MirrorMirror

    The GOP is out of touch with REALITY....PERIOD!

    February 7, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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