Just saw this interesting little nugget on the New York Times On Politics newsletter. Can’t wait for the release of the full report tomorrow.
Take a look at the Supermajority website. Become a member! We CAN effect change here in Texas. It’s past time to retire those good ole boys & gals! many of whom should have been packing up today!
TEXAS, we have to educate, engage, and support ALL of our women if we want to see the type of victories the ladies in Virginia are celebrating!
Our colleague Maggie Astor has a look at a new report out tonight:
There is good news and bad news in a study that the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which supports women in politics, is releasing tonight.
The good news: Most Americans recognize that women face double standards when running for office.
The bad news: Many of them are still applying those double standards anyway.
The foundation gave us an advance copy of the report, which is based on 12 focus groups and a phone survey of 2,500 likely voters. You can read the full report here.
The researchers asked voters to evaluate hypothetical women running against white men, and examined the factors that made voters more or less likely to vote for the women. The study focused on governorships because, according to the foundation’s previous research, executive offices are hardest for women to attain: Voters have long been more comfortable electing women to legislatures than to offices where they can make unilateral decisions.
The study found continuing double standards. Voters didn’t demand the same qualities in male and female candidates, and the female candidates had to take different actions to prove themselves to voters. Research has consistently shown that men are assumed to be qualified and women are not, and that women suffer more if voters think they’re “unlikable.”
Even so, the study found little evidence for the idea that women are less “electable”: When the participants were asked whom they would vote for, all of the hypothetical women won or tied against a hypothetical straight white man from the opposing party.
In addition to examining the broad obstacles women face in political campaigns, the researchers looked closely at the intersections between gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. A straight white woman running for office challenges one big political norm, maleness. A black woman or a lesbian challenges multiple norms, and that means even more hurdles.
“While most participants maintain that race does not impact their vote,” the report said, “some, particularly white participants, question the hypothetical women candidates of color just for being who they are.” These participants, for example, expressed displeasure when black, Latina and Asian-American candidates mentioned their race or ethnicity.
“It’s negative that they are introducing themselves as a particular ethnicity — I think it perpetuates the problem,” a white man in one of the focus groups said.
“Don’t run on the fact that you are an African-American,” a white woman said.
Female candidates face twin challenges: proving that they are qualified and proving that they are “likable,” an expectation applied disproportionately to women. The study — done in collaboration with groups that support black, Latina, Asian-American and gay women running for office — found that candidates from different demographics had to use different strategies to prove those qualities.
For instance, being “a business owner who created jobs and balanced budgets” made Asian-American women seem likable to most voters, but it didn’t help Latinas as much. Working across the aisle was a key likability trait for Latina and lesbian candidates from both parties, but it wasn’t as much of a benefit for straight, white Republicans.