The Republicans’ women problem

The real problem for Republicans with women voters is that women are simply more liberal than men on most all the key role of government issues that define so much modern political debate.  And it has been this way since at least the 1980’s.  This is very well established ground within political science.  In fact, Laurel and I were actually just working on studying “just” the gender gap before we somewhat accidentally studies across the impact of children, which has shaped our research ever since.

Earlier this week, I wrote about GOP Congresswoman Renee Ellmer’s inane comments about how pie charts are just too tough for women voters.   A number of nice blog posts, etc., on the issue around, but I particularly enjoyed Amy Davidson’s.  It also featured this excerpt from Ellmer’s that I had not previously noticed:

Ellmers’s comments reflect a certain Republican school of thought: women love the G.O.P; they just don’t realize it. (Their lack of self-awareness is such that, as a G.O.P. postmortem on the 2012 election noted, Obama’s margin with women was eleven per cent.) This, Ellmers said, is a matter of “tone”: “Women, by and large, agree with us on all of the issues. If you go through each issue, they agree. [emphasis mine]It’s how we are able to articulate ourselves—make sure that we’re getting the point across that we care, before we do anything else.”

This just could not be further from the truth!  Where is Ellmers getting this misinformation?  Fox news, I suppose.  Regardless, how can their be any hope of Republican legislators effectively addressing the needs of women citizens if they are so sadly misinformed about women (on average, of course) really think!  For a little context, here’s some charts from a Pew 2012 poll that looked at the gender gap on various key issues:

Yet, somehow Ellmers believes that women actually agree more with Republicans?!  Also noteworthy (and I hope I’ve mentioned this before), the gap is definitely not about abortion (as clearly seen in the last chart).

I also enjoyed Amanda Marcotte’s take, to a degree:

Women are likelier than men to make minimum wage or less.Women are more likely to fall into one of the eligibility categories for Medicaid.Women still make lower wages because of gender discrimination. Women like having contraception coverage and a social safety net. If anything, making the impact of policy easier to understand would drive even more women away from Republicans and toward Democrats.

But, alas, she’s got to go and ruin it by making it also about abortion when the data just don’t support that.

Regardless, insofar as Ellmers’ take is indicative of that of Republican politicians, don’t expect to see this pronounced gender gap narrowing much any time soon.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to The Republicans’ women problem

  1. rgbact says:

    Amanda Marcotte, eh? Thankfully, not all women are as “lady parts” obsessed…and base there votes on fiscal and national security (as well as social) issues. I would note that you didn’t post the chart on ACA, that showed almost no gender gap. And no chart on the deficit. And no chart on crime. And no chart on illegal immigration. Now I’m not agreeing with Renee Elmers but women are a bit more complex than Amanda Marcotte and you seem to think

    Of course there is a gender gap. About 15%. Even Reagan barely won women in the 1980 landslide. Republicans generally just hope to stay within 5% with women, and then win men by 10%.And they do it by stressing issues besides free birth control and gays getting married…..with the assumption that there are women that care about such things..

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