iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Republican women candidates must fight the perception that they are more moderate than male primary opponents simply because they are female, a group of pollsters and Republican leaders said Wednesday morning.
One of the most effective ways women can do this is to downplay attributes typically associated with females, including a penchant for compromise, they said.
Unveiling a report sponsored by the group Political Parity, which seeks to increase the number of women in state and federal government, pollster Nicole McClosky of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm that conducted the research, said the perception that women are less conservative harms their chances in Republican primaries.
“Their voting records are as conservative as any man, yet there is a lingering perception that perhaps women candidates are more moderate,” McClosky said.
Besides being seen as more willing to compromise, McClosky added, her research showed that voters tend to view women candidates as “compassionate” and “creative,” whereas male candidates evoke very different characteristics.
“Men have cornered the market on arrogance and stubbornness,” she said, to laughter.
In order to counteract these preconceptions, said Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, female candidates should accentuate qualities more welcome in the current Republican Party political atmosphere.
“Being willing to compromise has less of appeal in a Republican primary. The ability to create solutions, which is the ultimate motivating factor behind that compromise, is what really resonates with people,” Walter said.
And the ability to successfully articulate one’s message starts with raising enough money — something with which women frequently struggle more than men, said Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee.
“Men will walk in and ask for the full boat, all the money. And they’ll go to the women candidate, they’ll give you a $500 check and she’ll say thank you very much and leave,” she said. “You have to be able to raise the money to get your message heard.”
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