New GOP Strategy Group Targets Women Voters

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 03:22 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Republicans suffer from a major deficit among female voters, so three GOP women have formed a political strategy firm aimed at helping candidates tailor their message better.

"We want to get smarter about how we communicate the Republican message specifically to women," said Katie Packer Gage, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012. "Certainly there are challenges with other demographic groups, but women represent 53 percent of the electorate."

Gage, Ashley O'Conner, and Christine Matthews have formed Burning Glass Consulting, which will be the first GOP strategy firm specifically aimed at women voters, The New York Times reports

O'Conner worked with Gage on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and the two often felt frustrated by the message and tone of the Republican candidate when it came to reaching female voters.

After the election, the two approached Matthews, a pollster, and they decided to create a firm that will use public opinion research, television ads and consulting for Republican candidates.

Matthews told The Times that their strategy is to begin a "longer-term engagement" with the same group of women to help with messaging, instead of a single poll or single focus group.

In the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama won female voters by 11 percentage points over Romney.

While Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe won the Virginia governor's seat against GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli by only 2.5 percentage points, he won the women's vote by 9 points.

McAuliffe spent millions on ads against Cuccinelli that focused on abortion, contraception and divorce — a strategy that proved successful for him.

There's an even greater challenge among unmarried women, a group that Obama carried by 36 percentage points and McAuliffe carried by 42 points.

"There were something like 53 million unmarried women eligible to vote in 2012, but on campaigns you don't hear a specific strategy discussed of 'How are we going to reach unmarried women?'" Gage said.

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