For Immediate Release
EMILY's List WOMEN VOTE! Releases New Study on Women and the Democratic Presidential Primary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Most Democratic women won't choose their presidential nominee based on gender; instead they have set an exacting standard of what they want in their next President and come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton meets or exceeds those criteria. This is one of the key findings of a new study commissioned by EMILY's List WOMEN VOTE! and executed by the Feldman Group and Garin-Hart-Yang Research. EMILY's List WOMEN VOTE! Director Maren Hesla presented the report in a briefing this afternoon and outlined the findings of the survey which talked to Democratic women primary voters in the south, northeast, and southwest.
"Women have set a high bar for what they are looking for in a President including someone with the background and experience to lead the country, a strong commander in chief, and an agent of change," said Hesla. "They also want someone they respect and someone who can relate to their lives. Our current research shows that their choice was not based on gender but rather on a thoughtful and practical assessment of the qualifications, experience and strength of the candidates."
EMILY's List's WOMEN VOTE! project conducted the survey of 900 Democratic primary women voters in three February 5th states—New Jersey, Georgia, and Arizona. The study was designed to assess the strength of Clinton's bid for president among women primary voters, and to understand the basis for her support among this group.
Clinton enjoys a wide lead over all her opponents among women primary voters because they believe she has the experience and background to handle the job:
When asked which of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination they would support, 54 percent of women voters chose Senator Clinton. Her nearest opponent, Barack Obama, received the support of only 18 percent of women voters, with 9 percent of voters undecided. Clinton enjoys a similarly wide lead in all three states and across all age, educational, and racial categories.
For Democratic women, the most important quality driving their voting decision is the candidate's experience and background to handle the job. When asked if Clinton "has the experience to be president," 71 percent of voters give her an 8 or higher on a scale of zero to ten. Clinton is also perceived as a strong commander in chief and the candidate of change by women primary voters.
While women don't believe gender has an impact on the performance of the president, many women are excited about the prospect of Clinton as the first woman president.
Once their decision has been made, based on the issues and qualities of leadership they care about, women's support of Clinton is quite enthusiastic, with 75 percent of those who are supporting Clinton saying that they chose her because they are excited about her. When asked to rate the importance of Clinton becoming the first woman president of the United States, 21 percent said that it was more important to them. However, a large majority (68 percent) said being a woman would have no effect on her performance as president and 27 percent said that it would make her a better president.
Women voters will play a dominant role in deciding the Democratic nominee. In the Democratic primaries women voters make up 54 percent to as high as 60 percent of likely voters. The complete study along with more information on women votes and the 2008 election are available below.