Last summer, as a part of our commitment to promoting a more inclusive democracy, Democracy Fund Voice partnered with Echelon Insights to better understand the views and values that drive Republicans to support or oppose female candidates. To better inform our strategies to support women considering a run for public office, we began by digging in to questions like, “Do Republicans think there is a problem with the number of female Republicans who are elected to office? Why or why not?” and “What remedies, if any, would Republicans support in order to boost the number of Republican women in office?”
Key findings from the research include:
- Republican leaders vary greatly in their views on candidate recruitment, but most felt it is the role of party leaders to encourage people to become more active in the party.
- Republican leaders have reservations about women-focused recruitment efforts, and prefer to focus on qualifications for the position rather than differences in identity.
- Republican voters acknowledge women face unique challenges on the campaign trail.
- Republican voters see family commitments and attacks from the media as deterrents and key reasons fewer women run or are elected as Republicans.
There were two phases of this research. Phase 1 began with sixteen in-depth interviews of Republican Party leaders across the country during the Summer of 2018. States included AR, AZ, CO, DC, KY, IL, MD, NC, ND, OH, PA, TX, VA, and VT. Phase 2 included both a pre-election and a post-election survey of N = 500 Republican registered voters nationwide. These interviews were conducted via a blend of live phone interviews and online interviews.