Poll: GOP Out Of Touch With Women

A new CNN/ORC poll confirms something that election results going back to at least 2008 already seemed to confirm, namely that the GOP has a problem with women:

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.

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.”


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.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. Republicans have had trouble with female voters going back for decades now and, while they do seem to do better among married women than they do single women, among women as a whole they are continuing to lose ground. Of course, given how the GOP has conducted itself lately on issues ranging from contraceptives to abortion this really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Women are capable of empathy. Republicans are not.

    Women tend to be pragmatic. Republicans are ideological.

    Women tend to be more other-directed. Republicans are narcissistic to a degree that would be comical if not so damaging.

    Women want control over their own bodies and fates. Republicans think men should make those decisions.

    So, yeah, the only surprise is that the numbers aren’t worse.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    ^^ Michael Reynolds wrote it up pretty good me thinks. 🙂

  3. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:


    Totally arbitrary and unfair but with a central verity nonetheless.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Women want control over their own bodies and fates. Republicans think men should make those decisions.

    I cannot say it any more clearly and succinctly that that.

  5. anjin-san says:

    The GOP has a word for women who are not willing to turn over control of their bodies to men.


    Can’t imagine why women are not supporting the GOP in greater numbers.

  6. Mu says:

    That’s the problem if you’re so heavily dependent on religious fanatics as your primary voters – too many of them are stuck in iron age concepts of control.

  7. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: Ignorant sexual stereotyping and ignorant political stereotyping.

  8. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Only the truth hurts. You sound hurt.

  9. al-Ameda says:


    @michael reynolds: Sexist and politically ignorant.

    Well, that certainly describes the current Republican Party when it comes to the general issues surrounding women’s health care and a woman’s right to control her reproductive health care choices.

  10. stonetools says:

    Can’t imagine why ANY woman not married to a wealthy man would vote Republican. Micheal is right, the numbers should be worse.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: If you don’t want to get called out as a sexist, know-nothing, reactionary party, then don’t do things like trying to control women’s sexuality, calling women who use birth control “sluts”, trying to commandeer women’s bodies to force them to bear unwanted pregnancies, voting against Planned Parenthood, and voting against equal pay.

    If the shoes fit, wear ’em.

  12. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist:

    then don’t do things like trying to control women’s sexuality

    Example please?

    calling women who use birth control “sluts”

    Limbaugh made fun of one woman this way. But when did the party do this?

    trying to commandeer women’s bodies to force them to bear unwanted pregnancies, voting against Planned Parenthood,

    How is being pro-life sexist?

    and voting against equal pay

    What, the Ledbetter Act? That’s not what the law said.

  13. Pinky says:


    Can’t imagine why ANY woman not married to a wealthy man would vote Republican.

    Well, if I couldn’t imagine why such a large number of voters voted a certain way, I’d probably research it.

  14. Pinky says:


    You sound hurt.

    A little bored. I’m also fighting off a cold, so that might be what you hear.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    The GOP is out of touch with reality…and that becomes more apparent almost every single day.
    Name the issue…women, immigration, the economy, health care, energy…the list just does not end. Day after day I am dumbfounded by what was once a great political party….and what it has become. And I am frightened by the implications of that for this country.

  16. C. Clavin says:


    How is being pro-life sexist?

    Everyone is pro-life…well everyone outside of Hannibal Lector and his ilk, I suppose.
    You and your party are Anti-Choice. Which is funny considering how you go on and on about freedom. I can only guess that word does not mean what you think it means.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    Oh, and…

    Limbaugh made fun of one woman this way. But when did the party do this?

    Limbaugh is the de-facto leader of the party. Therefore…

  18. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: Fine. How is opposing abortion sexist?

  19. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: No he’s not. That’s dumb.

  20. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    A little bored.

    Of course. That must be why you keep coming back.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    Really? Why is it every time one of the cult members says something he doesn’t like…they have to run to him, kiss his ring, and apologize?

  22. C. Clavin says:

    We are seeing a prime example of the GOP’s war on women in the news right this very minute. By creating a reasonably priced insurance market Obamacare makes it far more feasible for women to stay at home, or reduce their work hours, in order to take care of their children…they are no longer tied to an employer.
    The Republicans call staying at home and taking care of your kids instead of working two jobs is being a moocher.
    Unless you are Ann Romney, and part of the 1%…then it’s admirable. But only then.

  23. C. Clavin says:

    If you were just “opposing abortion”…then it’s not. That is your CHOICE. Oppose away. But actively working to limit the choice of women is sexist…especially when it’s done by a bunch of old white guys.

  24. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin:

    old white guys

    Here are my problems with that. Abortion isn’t about old people. People born after 1973 are more likely to favor restrictions on abortion than those born before 1973. And “guys” isn’t right. More women are single-issue pro-life voters than pro-choice, and more men are single-issue pro-choice voters than pro-life. And as for “white”, well, I guess you could argue that abortion is about color (although white people are very concerned with saving black babies), or you could put wealth into this the way stonetools did, but it doesn’t seem genuine. It’s more like you’re repeating a meme or a talking point about “old white guys” rather than thinking about the issue. You could have posted basically the same comment under any of the current articles and you would have gotten the same number of upvotes.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Totally arbitrary and unfair but with a central verity nonetheless.

    I think you’ve just written the definition of my brand.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah… That’s why congress holds hearings on the topic with only men.
    Look…you want to try and limit someone else’s rights… And claim the high ground .
    Just own what you are doing .

  27. anjin-san says:

    @ Pink

    Not a single shred of supporting evidence in your last post. I know I am shocked.

  28. anjin-san says:

    Limbaugh made fun of one woman this way.

    Ah. One of the most powerful men in the country calling a young woman a “slut” in the national media is “making fun of her.”

    I see. So it’s kind of like when I teased the girl I liked in the 5th grade…

    You sound like someone who does not have a lot of real world experience with women.

  29. Stonetools says:


    Hey guy, if you think theRepublican policy towards women is sufficiently well calibrated,then great. You should be happy with the current situation. I’m sure their current enlightened message toward women-anti-conception, anti-abortion rights , anti- parental leave, anti anything to help single mothers and working women-is going to click just fine with women eventually. Keep on doing what you are doing!

  30. Matt Bernius says:

    Don’t worry folks, I’m sure our resident conservatives will be happy to lecture all women who will listen on why women are clearly wrong for not supporting the GOP and it’s pro-women’s rights stances (in just the same way they’re happy to explain why minorities, gays, etc are all dimwitted fools for not supporting the GOP’s clearly pro-insert-group-here-policies).

  31. Kari Q says:

    Women are a diverse group with many different positions. It appears that 38% feel that the Republican party’s positions and rhetoric about women are just fine. Pinky is clearly among the group. There is probably a similar minority of people who think that Republicans understand the problems faced by blacks and Hispanics. The overwhelming majority disagrees.

  32. michael reynolds says:


    You’re confusing self-identified “Pro life” with people who actually want Roe overturned, or who want abortion illegal in all cases. In fact a majority – even among Republicans in most polls – do not favor the extreme position and do not want Roe overturned. People want to express disapproval for abortion while also wanting it to remain legal. Come to think of it, that’s my position.

    It’s the same as when you ask people about Obamacare. They hate it! But they also don’t want it overturned. And they like all the specific elements except the mandate, in other words, paying for it.

    Face it, you guys have lost across the board on social issues. You lost on prayer in school, on abortion, on Obamacare covering birth control, on gays in the military and then on gay marriage, on blacks marrying whites, on torturing heretics, on burning witches . . .

  33. anjin-san says:

    @ michael reynolds

    But, but, but…

    Obama’s a negro!

  34. Maggie says:

    @anjin-san: @anjin-san

    And Woop! Woop! There it is! : AMEN!!
    You can call it “Socialism, communism , atheism, pro-life, anti- big gov’t., , blah, blah blah. It all comes down to racism and sexism.. Want proof? TED CRUZ, of Canadian & Cuban decent is “True American” cause he crossed the Northern border instead of the Southern,. He is no more a representative of Hispanics than I am of Germans, Yet Obama who was born of an American mother in the state of Hawaii, is a Muslim terrorist. HIlary is a “tyrant”. We can’t say “nigger”anymore cause that would just be wrong, but we can stick other false labels on to hide what we really mean, and the haters out there recognize the code! And as for women, no need for code, “sluts” & bitches are still very acceptable terms to describe women with ambition!

  35. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: You’re right; I didn’t. The data is a pain to parse, particularly with vague questions like “do you support some restrictions?”.

  36. grumpy realist says:


    The Republican Party is NOT “pro-life.” What it is is “forced organ borrowing ” (Given the enthusiasm the Republican Party has for guns, war, and capital punishment, I think “pro-death” is a better term.)

    Oh, you mean I can’t suddenly club you over the head and then hook your kidneys up to someone else for 9 months? Why not? After all, it’s “saving a life”, right? So I should be able to do it, right?

    Until you can consistently and reasonably explain why it isn’t ok to do that to a random guy on the sidewalk but it’s perfectly fine to do it to a woman, then don’t bother opening your mouth.

  37. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: well, that analogy is just stupid.

    The fetus is already attached to the kidneys, and will prosper and grow unless there is an active effort to prevent that.

    That random person is not attached to the kidneys, and will wither and die barring an equally active effort. Plus, the random person is much larger, and more difficult to carry around.

    I think a better analogy might be a secret conjoined twin. If you had a conjoined twin living in your belly, alive and aware and probably telling you to do horrible things, only visible when you raise your shirt — are you allowed to have him removed, even if it would mean his death?

    I mean, that’s also a stupid analogy, but it is better than yours.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Not before it’s implanted it isn’t…..it’s just a zygote floating around in a cavity inside my body and I Can Get It Out before it invades my body.

    There’s also the invasion thing. I’ve got something that chomps its way into my body, hooks itself up to my bloodstream, and you’re telling me I have NO RIGHT to detach it?!

    I think the clubbing you on the sidewalk and hooking up to your kidneys analogy is more aft than you might think.

  39. Pinky says:

    @Maggie: I don’t remember Ted Cruz claiming to be representative of Hispanics. Republicans typically talk in terms of representing all the people in their voting areas. Beyond that, everything else in your comment is also nonsensical and/or wrong, but that Cruz thing deserved to be highlighted.

    On the other hand, I may be judging your comment too harshly. If it was intended to just reproduce key angry phrases from talking points, I guess it was a success. But you might want to aim higher.

  40. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: That zygote – that “something” – is a separate living entity with its own full set of human DNA which, under natural processes, could have a human beating heart and human brain waves in a matter of months. Does that mean anything to you?

  41. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    Living human beings with beating hearts and brains die every day in America because of GOP policies. They freeze to death in cardboard boxes under freeway overpasses. They die because they don’t have health insurance. And so on.

    Does that mean anything to you?

  42. anjin-san says:

    @ grumpy realist

    Love the zygote, hate the poor/colored person it lives to become.

  43. anjin-san says:

    But you might want to aim higher.

    Ah, you mean like your comment about Limbaugh “making fun” of Sandra Fluke when he called her a slut on nationwide radio.

    Yea, you are setting the bar high alright.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Pinky: No. Why should it? That’s far in the future. You are projecting a picture of a baby onto a bundle of DNA, totally ignoring that it wouldn’t get to that stage unless it lives off MY bloodstream and leaches all of its nutrients from MY body.

    A sizeable percentage of zygotes (up to 50% in some estimations) fail to implant or otherwise get flushed out of a woman’s uterus–most of the time without her even noticing that she was “pregnant.” Do they sit around lamenting about the horrid loss of life they are responsible for? No. Do we insist that women who have had miscarriages be accused of involuntary manslaughter? No.

    Also, I don’t see why I should be the one sacrificed up to have my body burrowed into and invaded and used as a life support system.. If supporting zygotes is so important to you, why don’t you offer up YOUR own body?!

  45. Pinky says:

    @grumpy realist: I know that many zygotes fail to implant. That happens. So does implantation, development, and birth. I’m not calling for manslaughter charges when implantation, a natural process, fails.

    My body’s not equipped to carry around a zygote. Again, that’s the nature of it. Your body is equipped to be “used as a life support system” in a way mine isn’t. Your body has strengths and weaknesses that nature gave you. No amount of emphatic capitalization can change that your body is different from mine.

  46. rudderpedals says:

    @Pinky: Your body is equipped to be “used as a life support system” in a way mine isn’t.

    Dead bodies aren’t equipped for that either. Transplanting the dead body’s uterus into another willing recipient, such as Pinky’s, could be be the best option if everyone else agrees.

  47. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Of course I care about them. We differ in our beliefs about what policies best help them, but barring some inexplicable display of heartlessness on your part, I’m never going to libel you by saying that you don’t care about them.

  48. wr says:

    @Pinky: “Your body is equipped to be “used as a life support system” in a way mine isn’t. ”

    And according to gender stereotypes, your body is equipped for manual labor. So do I get to demand that you come dig ditches at my house at the time of my choosing? After all, your body is equipped for it — what right do you have to disagree?

  49. Pinky says:

    @wr: Uteruses (uteri?) aren’t stereotypes. I don’t know why you guys are so caught up in denying nature. Also, you’ve thought about my genitals more in the last 24 hours than I have.

  50. wr says:

    @Pinky: “Uteruses (uteri?) aren’t stereotypes. I don’t know why you guys are so caught up in denying nature. Also, you’ve thought about my genitals more in the last 24 hours than I have.”

    I mention manual labor and you decide I was thinking about your genitals? I’ve got to wonder what you do for a living…

    And no one’s “denying nature.” We just believe that the ability to have a child does not bring with it the obligation to do so, and that women should be allowed to control their own reproductive choices.

  51. Tyrell says:

    Is there a hidden message in that title?

  52. Doc says:

    @stonetools: And I would bet that in the voting booth they will vote against the Republicans no matter what they may say when their Republican husband/boyfriend is around