Less than a quarter of Republicans believe that electing more women to Congress would be a good thing, according to an ABC News/Fusion poll released on Wednesday.
About 60 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Americans overall said that it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress, the poll found. Only 23 percent of Republicans said it would be a good thing, while more than two-thirds of Republicans said it makes no difference to them.
Currently, women make up slightly more than half of the U.S. population, but just 18 percent of Congress. Earlier this month, male Senators on both sides of the aisle acknowledged that that their female colleagues deserved most of the credit for driving the compromise that ended the government shutdown.
Leaders in the Democratic Party have made a big push lately to engage more women in politics and to push for policies that help women in the workplace. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) last week launched the Democratic Women’s Alliance, a new program at the Democratic National Committee designed to engage, mobilize and train women in politics. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is leading a major new push for legislation that ensures equal pay, affordable childcare and paid sick and family leave for working women.
Republicans have the National Federation of Republican Women, which aims to recruit and train conservative women to run for office. But the party has had a notably more difficult time reaching out to women voters because of its opposition to equal pay laws, certain domestic violence protections, abortion rights and contraception coverage. The GOP also has very few elected women in office -- out of 20 women in the Senate, only four of them are Republicans.
But Republican voters do not seem to be worried about the lack of women in Congress, for the most part, and they are not particularly concerned about women in the workplace. The ABC poll found that while 68 percent of Democrats believe women have fewer opportunities than men in the workplace, only 38 percent of Republicans agree with that statement, despite the wide and persistent wage gap.
The president of EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women to office, said the GOP's real woman problem may go beyond a simple shortage of candidates. “Today’s Republican party doesn’t just lack women," said Stephanie Schriock. "They’re a party that seems not to even like them.”