Poll: 6 in 10 Ready for Female President

Poll: 6 in 10 Ready for U.S. Woman Leader (AP)

More than six in 10 voters say they believe the United States is ready for a female president, a poll found. The poll, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute and sponsored by Hearst Newspapers, also found that 81 percent of people surveyed would vote for a woman for president and 53 percent think New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton should try for the job. Other polls have identified the former first lady as the voters’ favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination.

On the Republican side, 42 percent of voters said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should run for the White House and 33 percent named North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

The pollsters found about 60 percent of voters said they expect a woman to be the Democrats’ nominee for president in 2008. In contrast, they found 18 percent expected the Republican ticket to be headed by a woman.

The actual poll results [PDF format] at here. This is indeed a national sample: “This Hearst Newspapers/Siena College poll was conducted February 10-17, 2005 by telephone calls to 1,125 registered voters in the fifty states and the District of Columbia. It has a margin of error of + 2.9 points.” Apparently, no likely voter screen was applied–but then, the election is nearly four years away.

The “support” for Clinton is owing, almost entirely, to name recognition and the widespread assumption that she’s running. Further, the methodology here is closed-ended:

[The] poll also asked respondents if four women active in public affairs nationally should run for president. New York̢۪s Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton received the greatest support (53%), followed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (42%). Trailing were Senators Elizabeth Dole (33%) and Barbara Boxer (13%).

Photo: Poll Results on Women for 2008

So, this is not support for any of the candidates per se, just an opinion as to whether the four mentioned should run. Further, we don’t know the rationale for the support. Theoretically, Boxer’s Yes’s could be entirely from Republicans who would love to see her trounced.

The acceptability of a female candidate more generally, though, is interesting:

Photo: Poll Results on Women for 2008

On domestic issues, this mirrors what we’ve been seeing for a decade or more in state-wide races: Women candidates suffer no significant disadvantages compared to their male counterparts and have a significant advantage on the “family” issues. What’s somewhat surprising, though, is that a majority of those polled say that there is no difference between the sexes on foreign policy and a near-majority say that with respect to warfighting. That would not have been the case during the Cold War.

Hat tip: Athena

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Gender Issues, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    I thought 6 out of 10 looks a little low. Sometime (most of the time) it depends on how the questions are phrased. The 81% of people that would vote for a woman looks a little more reasonable.

  2. LJD says:

    38% don’t know who Barbara Boxer is. I guess that explains all the noise.

  3. Kent says:

    I thought 6 out of 10 looks a little low.

    I wonder if if would be higher if certain women had not been mentioned as prospective candidates? Hillary Clinton is the best argument I have ever seen for repealing the 19th Amendment.