Republicans have a lady problem. In order to try and solve it, two groups, Crossroads GPS and American Action Network, commissioned a poll of 800 female voters across the nation this summer, Politico reports. The goal: identify opportunities to close the gender gap.
The report, entitled “Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities” encourages Republicans to, among other things, “pursue policy innovations that inspire women voters to give the GOP a ‘fresh look.’” Unfortunately for the Republican Party, those “policy innovations” are often fundamentally at odds with their existing platform.
The poll found that women view the Republican party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion,” and “stuck in the past.” The GOP’s inability to see women in non-traditional roles has led female voters to become “barely receptive” to the party’s policies – and 49% of those surveyed to view Republicans “unfavorably.”
Despite claims that Republicans already have the answers women are looking for, if they would only listen, the poll found that even policies specifically focused on female voters fell flat. From Politico:
Two policies former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promoted as a way to make inroads with middle-class women and families – charter schools and flexible work schedules – were actually the least popular policies among female voters.
Jobs and the economy are two issue areas that Republicans generally point to when explaining why women should be voting for them. Interestingly enough, Democrats had a 35-point advantage when it came to women who care about jobs.
In the end, these two groups paid researchers to discover what many across the country already know – women voters can see the Republican platform, and they do understand it. That’s why they refuse to vote for it.
Perhaps the most telling pieces of the report as shared by Politico were the solutions, including a shift towards policies that “are not easily framed as driven by a desire to aid employers or ‘the rich,’” “expanding home health care services by allowing more health care professionals to be paid by Medicare for home health services,” and “strengthening enforcement against gender bias in the workplace.”
Specifically, the report found, women really like policies aimed at addressing the gender wage gap – which the GOP has publicly vowed to oppose. As a matter of fact, the report found that women “believe that ‘enforcing equal pay for equal work’ is the policy that would ‘help women the most,’” and that “Republicans who openly deny the legitimacy of the issue will be seen as out of touch with women’s life experiences.”
Republicans just spent an unknown sum of money to discover that in order to appeal to women voters they must stop standing up for employers and the rich over working families and middle class Americans, increase access to healthcare services by promising additional spending for Medicare, and come out in support of policies that seek to actively address the gender wage gap. In other words: in order to win with women, Republicans need to start acting like Democrats.