More than three out of four Americans believe they will see a female president in their lifetime, survey finds

Feb 07, 2013
Panelists discuss results from Blair Center-Clinton School Poll at Clinton School of Public Service.

(Phys.org)—More than 75 percent of Americans believe they will see a female president in their lifetime, according to a comprehensive national survey conducted by two entities of the University of Arkansas System. The poll found that 77 percent of men and 80 percent of women believe they will see a woman elected president during their life.

These results and other questions related to attitudes toward in politics and the workplace were released today from a nonpartisan conducted by the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock.

Blair Center scholars Todd Shields, Angie Maxwell, Pearl Ford Dowe and Rafael Jimeno presented findings from the poll Wednesday, Feb. 6, at a Clinton School panel discussion titled "The Year of the Woman." The topics covered during the panel discussion are included in a report titled "Is There a War on Women? Attitudes about Women in the Workplace and in Politics." (Hyperlink report here)

"This report is just one of several that will be released over the course of the next year," said Shields, director of the Blair Center and dean of the Graduate School and International Education at the University of Arkansas. "The poll covered numerous topics including immigration, , regional trends and community philanthropy, and we are looking forward to studying the results in further detail."

While the Blair Center-Clinton School Poll is national in scope, it uniquely includes representative samples of African Americans and Latinos in the South as compared to the rest of the country, groups that are often omitted in most national surveys.

"We see a more complete picture when the results are analyzed by race," said Jimeno, the Diane D. Blair endowed professor in Latino studies. "Among Caucasian respondents 76 percent believed they would see a female elected president, while 80 percent of Latino respondents and 83 percent of African American respondents reported the same belief."

Poll questions released Wednesday also covered the 2012 presidential election results, attitudes toward women in the workplace and hypothetical 2016 presidential election match-ups involving the possible candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The poll results showed Clinton with leads over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (61 percent to 32 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (61 percent to 30 percent) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (58 percent to 34 percent).

 "We have known about the gender gap for many election cycles even though it is substantially smaller in the South," said Maxwell, the Diane D. Blair endowed professor in Southern studies. "The poll found that 60 percent of non-southern women and 45 percent of non- southern men reported voting for President Barack Obama. This gender gap was nearly non-existent in the South where 49.6 percent of women and 48.3 percent of men reported voting for Obama. But what is most interesting about the 2016 pairings is that the gap increases significantly among white southerners when Secretary Clinton is paired with the leading potential Republican candidates."

The poll also asked questions from the Modern Sexism Scale, which measures attitudes towards the changes in traditional gender roles that have occurred during the past several decades. The results of these questions showed that 24.3 percent of men have "extremely negative" attitudes toward having women in the work place.

When broken down regionally, the results showed attitudes toward women in the workplace were slightly better in the non-south than in the South. Southern men (25.5 percent) and women (16.9 percent) showed more negative attitudes toward having women in the workplace than non-southern men (23.8 percent) and women (12.5 percent).

The Blair Center-Clinton School Poll, completed in mid-December, surveyed more than 3,600 people regarding issues related to politics, giving, regional identification, religion, racial discrimination, ideology and partisanship. The poll has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. This is the Blair Center's second election year to administer the national poll and the first time it was conducted in partnership with the Clinton School.

The poll was administered by GfK, formerly Knowledge Networks, the leader in web-based survey research. GfK's proprietary database features a representative sample of Americans, including representation of the roughly 30 percent of U.S. households that do not have Internet access. In addition, the database covers the growing number of cell phone-only households, recently estimated at 23 percent of all households, through address-based sampling. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish.

Explore further: Multidisciplinary study reveals big story of cultural migration (w/ Video)

More information: For more information about the Blair Center-Clinton School partnership, please visit blaircenterclintonschoolpoll.uark.edu or bccs.uark.edu. The full report may be found at blaircenterclintonschoolpoll.uark.edu/6759.php

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