Year of the Republican Woman? Not.

Tue, October 26, 2010

Democrats, Republicans, Women in Politics

So we’ve heard a LOT about “The Year of the Republican Woman.” Conservative gals have been saying loudly and proudly that 2010 would be their year to take the country by storm, at least when it comes to electoral politics, and show us liberal Democrats a thing or two!

Sarah Palin embraced the idea by charging around the country, endorsing mama grizzlies of the Tea Party and she’s made a few notable differences in the outcomes of some primary races.

The problem is this — it really isn’t turning out to be their year, even though many are still maintaining that’s common wisdom.

According to a study by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, more Republican women did toss their hats in the ring this year for state and federal office, but the majority of them lost their primary races.  In a subsequent study, the CAWP found that even with the whole mama grizzly phenomenon (really more of a political marketing ploy than a true electoral wave), women are less likely to vote for Republican candidates in the mid-term election, regardless of the candidates’ gender.

So what happened to all these conservative Tea Party gals?  They take up plenty of airtime on the shouting head shows and in the newspapers, proclaiming they’re the new wave of political power in America.  But where did they all go?  Many in the media seem to be ignoring their dwindling numbers and are just accepting the story the RNC is putting out there — that women are still the Republican secret weapon.

Even worse for all women is that it’s a similar story for Democratic women candidates.   Pollsters are predicting that the sad numbers of women currently on Capitol Hill will drop this November, and we really don’t have numbers we can lose.

1992 was supposed to be the Year of the Woman, and that didn’t turn out so well.  As the 2010 “Year of the Republican Woman” comes to a close without much success, I have to wonder — will there ever be a year that’s good for any women politically?

Update: From NPR on October 27,  Electable GOP Females Lag Democratic Counterparts

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16 Responses to “Year of the Republican Woman? Not.”

  1. Chris Wysocki Says:

    Let’s see if you’re still singing the same sour grapes tune on Nov 3rd.

    Anna Little is gaining on Frank Pallone every day (NJ-6). She’s got spunk and determination and a winning formula. She came from behind to oust Diane Gooch in the primary and she can win again on Tuesday.

    Carly Fiorina is likewise gaining on Senator Barbara “don’t call me ma’am” Boxer. Don’t count her out.

    Sharron Angle has Harry Reid on the run.

    All Renee Ellmers needs for an upset is for Bob Etheridge to beat up another college kid on video. The odds are good on that score.

    Jackie Walorski is making news in Indiana and Joe Donnelly knows he’s in trouble.

    Vicky Hartzler is giving Ike Skelton a run for his money in MO-4. It’s a +11 Republican district and ole Ike knows it’s dog track time.

    Ruth McClung is beating Raul “boycott my state” Grijalva like a rented mule in Arizona.

    When all 7 win it’ll be a net gain of 6 women in DC.

    I think what you’re really lamenting is the fact that none of these fine ladies are cast in the mold of your 2 favorite RINOs from Maine.

  2. Jill Says:

    Chris, the reality is that it’s actually up to the menz to get those women elected. Men vote Republican far more than women do, so the conservative women’s vote rarely swings elections. What are your sources telling you about whether the men will vote for those women you mention?

  3. PunditMom Says:

    I didn’t say no Republican women would get elected. I was simply pointing out that the way things are looking — based on the facts of who ran and who got eliminated in the primaries — this isn’t going to be the year of GOP women the way many had hoped it would be. Given the polling at the moment, Reid and Boxer will win. Having said that, we can all wish and predict all we want, but, as Lawrence O’Donnell says on his new show, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.

  4. Jill Says:

    Joanne – so sorry to hijack but for Chris – two more pieces about how it’s not the year of the woman, adding numbers at least in any sense:

    Electable GOP Females Lag Democratic Counterparts

  5. Chris Wysocki Says:

    Jill, I’m not sure I understand your point. Of course men will vote for qualified women! “My sources” tell me that all 7 of those women stand a very good chance of winning. Why? Because they appeal to people of all persuasions.

    I’m most familiar with Anna Little’s campaign here in NJ. A good (male) friend is one of her top advisers. And Chris Christie is behind her 110%.

    PunditMom, As the saying goes, you plays your cards and you takes your chances. Women didn’t run the table in the primaries, but neither did the men. I do wish though that we’d get beyond gender and race labels and just vote for the “best” candidate.

    As for who will win and who won’t, the only poll that matters is the one on November 2nd!

  6. Jill Says:

    Hi Chris – thanks – happy to show you what I’ve been reading that leads me to my theory – which of course I think is real! :) but you know – you are kind to engage civilly!

    In close races, of course every vote counts. But in general, with GOP candidates, it’s the men voting or not voting that will make the difference in a win. It is not the women voting that will make a difference – or as I say, that’s the theory that flows from this gender gap analysis.

    No doubt – there are and will be exceptions!

  7. Chris Wysocki Says:

    Jill, as you noted every vote counts. So both men and women voting for a candidate is what puts her (or him) over the top.

    Why do you think it is that (most) women aren’t drawn to issues like budget deficits? Politico punts on that question, which ought to be an interesting one to pursue. Sure, discussing deficits is boring as all get out but nonetheless the government’s deficit spending has an adverse affect on all of us equally. (Or perhaps you think it doesn’t, in which case I’d be curious as to why you came to that conclusion.)

    “you are kind to engage civilly!”

    You’re welcome!

  8. Jill Miller Zimon Says:

    Chris – I do disagree with the premise that women aren’t drawn to issues like budget deficits. Prioritizing and how we communicate about that topic is more the issue, IMO. Deficit spending does affect everyone but not equally, I’m quite sure – probably not even proportionally.

    The issue about men v. women putting a candidate over the top has to do with viewing voters through a targeting and demographic perspective, that’s all I meant.

  9. PunditMom Says:

    Chris, I agree with Jill. Budget issues are what most women I know are thinking about. It’s a pretty broad and incorrect stereotype to suggest that budgets and deficits are just too darn complicated for the womenz to think about.

    As Jill said, when it comes to many of the Republican women candidates, their actual majority of support seems to be men, at least according to the polling.

  10. Jill Miller Zimon Says:

    Chris – one other thing – great four-five minute piece on the running of the women, so to speak. Person speaking is from nonpartisan Center for American Women in Politics -

  11. PunditMom Says:

    Thanks, Jill — I also put the link into the body of the article as an update!

  12. John Says:

    Who is the most powerful woman in America? Nancy Pelosi.

    I don’t know who the most powerful woman in America will be after Nov. 3, but it will not be Nancy Pelosi.

    That is a victory for Republican women everywhere who are working to send Conservatives to Congress.

    I think the lesson of Pelosi is to have a less partisan and divisive Speaker of the House.

  13. Chris Wysocki Says:

    Jill and PunditMom – I didn’t suggest that budgets and deficits were too darn complicated! The Politico piece Jill linked alluded to that, but stopped short of drawing any conclusions. So I asked, “is this true?” and as I suspected it is most certainly NOT true.

    I see Jill’s point now; candidates and pollsters target what they perceives as the issues which are important to their vision of a demographic group. Which I will again agree is quite short-sighted.

    What do you think of this USA Today article?

    “Female voters, once a reliable force for Democrats, are roughly split this fall between the Democrats and Republicans running for Congress and governor. Recent Gallup polling, assuming a traditional turnout for a midterm election, finds that Republicans are favored by female likely voters, 49% to 46%.”

    It seems to contradict the thesis that the majority of support for Republican women comes from men. Of course polls are almost always skewed one way or the other so it’s certainly not a definitive refutation, but interesting nonetheless.

  14. Jill Miller Zimon Says:

    Chris, honestly – you know what I think (and I do think you ask good questions – looking at the numbers, trying to make sense)? I think it’s confusing! I think, in total honesty, that the pollsters and others have been so myopic over the years in parsing women and how women vote (which is to say, that they haven’t – that they viewed us monolithically), that now – they don’t know WHAT to measure, or what metric to look at – or what the metrics even mean. Because frankly, I don’t know how else we’d be getting so many mixed messages from the numbers and the pollsters and the campaigns and the media.

    So – I am going to go with my gut – and having run for office before and won, albeit on a small scale (town with 5000 registered voters!!), here’s what I THINK is going on, but you know – I don’t REALLY know!

    1. Women who skew conservative are more pumped than they have been in the past. But in the past, they were not such a block to be reckoned with. So it’s a bit of a new phenom.

    2. Women who skew liberal are NOT as pumped – because of being thrown under the bus multiple times, because while many Dem women are running, the GOP has put up a lot of men against those women (rahter than more women) and so we see losses in gender parity overall. That is tough for women who skew left because in general we believe that having more women, overall, even if some are conservative, is a preferable thing than not seeing women in there.

    3. Men tend to vote GOP more than they vote Dem, historically. This year, being as pumped as they are, they are voting in bigger nubmers and compared to 2008, when there was perhaps less to be enthusiastic about simply because McCain is moderate and Palin was exciting for them but still an unknown, the numbers this year compared to 2008 are probably even bigger – enthusiasm is for sure – they have something to aim against, you know?

    4. THEREFORE, in comparison and relative to all this: women will make the difference for tight races and CAN make those go to the Dems. But where men are really mobilized – and they do NOT seem to be AS mobilized behind female candidates as they are behind male (with exceptions of course but in general), and there’s apathy on the part of Dem women, the GOP will get the win.

    But as to this post by Joanne, I agree with her completely – 1) there are NOT record numbers of women from either party in the general elections. 2) the GOP has NOT run a lot of women and the ones running who are doing the best are mostly self-funded ones or incumbents

    That said, everyone has to progress at their own pace – if this is an inspiring year for conservative women, I’m not going to take that away from them. I would only say that my main disappointment is that they don’t demand the same caliber – for all that people feel Palin or O’Donnell or Angle or even Whitman bring, these just are not my image of federal level public servants. That is me. And that’s all based on my knowing the different between running for office and governing from office. It is a very very VERY hard thing to do. I really don’t believe that some of these folks running – and I’m sure there are some on the Dem side I just can’t think of any at the moment – have any clue.


  15. Chris Wysocki Says:

    It seems like there is an “enthusiasm gap” which is being explained away by the pollsters via a “gender gap”. The lack of enthusiasm angle makes sense since the president has been actively rallying his base to ensure they turn out on Tuesday and under normal circumstances he shouldn’t have to do that.

  16. Teadrinking Mom Says:

    Hi PunditMom, Really thrilled to have just discovered you – excellent blog. I completely agree with your analysis on the Mama Grizzlies – I blogged about the very same thing a few days ago: Like minds and all that….

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