The Republican Party's effort to rebrand itself with women since losing the 2012 presidential race and seats in Congress is falling short, a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found.
Only 14 percent of women said the Republican Party had moved closer to their perspective. More than twice as many women, 33 percent, said the party had drifted further from them. A plurality, 46 percent, saw no change.
The dangers for the GOP of losing women's support are playing out in the Virginia gubernatorial race, where Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe has taken the lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, almost entirely by opening up a lead among female voters.
In the new poll, the results for the GOP are even more ominous among young women. Only 11 percent of women younger than 50 said the party had moved closer to them. In contrast, 29 percent said the GOP had moved further away.
College-educated white women were particularly likely (45 percent) to say the Republican Party was now further from their views. That is especially significant because Republicans had made critical gains among that demographic in the 2012 election cycle. President Obama's support among college-educated white women dropped by 6 percentage points, from 52 percent to 46 percent, between the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to national exit polls.
Of those women who said the Republican Party had moved away from them, nearly three in five, 59 percent, said it was because the GOP had become "too conservative." Only 33 percent said the party was further from them because it wasn't conservative enough.
Again, the results were particularly sharp for college-educated white women—the type of suburban voters that campaigns typically vie heavily to win. Of those college-educated white women who said the Republican Party has moved further from them, 66 percent said it was because it had become "too conservative."
The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, interviewed 1,005 adults between Sept. 25 and 29, via landline and cell phone. The overall margin of error is 3.7 percentage points, but subgroups have greater margins of error.
This article appears in the October 3, 2013, edition of NJ Daily.