Sisterhood, it turns out, is a tough card to play when you’re a Republican woman in California. Both gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, the GOP’s first female nominees in those races, have been operating on the assumption that their gender would inspire some solidarity and crossing of party lines. But recent polls show that if anyone’s exhibiting misogynist tendencies in Democratic-tilting California, it’s women voters, reports the Los Angeles Times
In a new survey of likely voters conducted in conjunction with USC, the newspaper found that women rated Democrat Jerry Brown as more truthful than opponent Whitman by a 25-point margin, whereas the margin among men was only 15 points in Brown’s favor. The Times/USC poll also asked about two labels that have figured largely in the campaign, Whitman’s Wall Street leanings and Brown’s association with unions. Men were more concerned about Brown by a 13-point margin; for women, Whitman was more worrisome, by 17 points.
In general, men favored Brown in the governor’s race by 3 points, but the margin among women was a whopping 21 points.
In the Senate contest, what the Times calls “the heavily Democratic nature of California’s female voters” is readily apparent. Among men, Fiorina held a 2-point advantage over Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer, but women favored Boxer by 17 points.
The Public Policy Institute of California drew a similar picture in a recent poll, which showed women favoring Brown by 14 points more than male voters did. Boxer held a 16-point lead among women, but men preferred Fiorina.
The Times concludes that ideology still trumps gender among Golden State voters: “The candidates in question are being seen as Republicans who happen to be women, rather than women who happen to be Republicans,” writes reporter Cathleen Decker.
GOP pollster Linda DiVall, a co-conductor of Times/USC survey, said, "More than anything, it's party registration and ideology, and every Republican candidate knows that coming in."
But she added, "A lot of female voters are going to give people some grudging respect for hanging in there. “I wouldn't be surprised to see some switching around here at the end of the race.”
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