Nationwide Survey of Women – June 2014

TO: YG Network

FROM: Kellyanne Conway, President & CEO the polling company, inc./WomanTrend

DATE: June 12, 2014 

RE: YG Network Nationwide Survey of Women

Click to view the Crosstabs HERE.
Click to view the Toplines HERE.

Key Findings

  • As many women feel that neither Party cares about their family’s challenges and concerns (34%) as believe that the Democratic Party does (33%).
  • While 29% self-report as Republican and 40% as Democratic, 36% consider themselves to be conservative in their social, economic and political views.
  • Women cite jobs, economy, healthcare and education as primary concerns.
  • Overall, women are pessimistic about the economic future of the country, believe their current economic situation is a struggle with little prospect of improving.
  • Women are eager for flexibility in the workplace – whether in the form of choice between overtime or time off or in supporting employers so they can provide more flexible work arrangements and paid leave options.
  • Even though a majority of women claim not to have experienced gender discrimination themselves, they believe women are paid unequally.
    • Over three-quarters of women (78%) agree that generally speaking, women are paid less than men for doing the same kind of work. These opinions are solid: of those who agree, 71% say they “strongly agree.”
  • Women support marriage and see it as vital to the fabric of society. A 56%-majority say the country is “worse off” due to declining marriage rates.  Legal and tax reforms that increase fairness to married couples have high levels of support.
  • There is strong support for increasing the child tax credit.
  • Adult women across the U.S. are at parity on Obamacare (46% approve, 46% disapprove), with an 8-point, 38% to 30% intensity gap for those who strongly disapprove of the law compared to those who strongly approve.
  • A 51% majority of women either want Obamacare repealed and replaced or want major fixes to it, compared to 42% who would prefer leaving it “as is” or making only minor fixes.
  • A plurality of women are willing to make the trade-offs that a conservative alternative to Obamacare would involve. Forty-eight percent say we should put make low-cost health coverage available even if it does not cover routine expenses while only 39% want more extensive coverage at a higher cost.
  • Women are open to refinements in the ACA or reforms that would include:
    • Tax credits for those who do not receive insurance through their employer
    • The option to purchase catastrophic insurance rather than a more comprehensive policy
    • Increasing people’s sense of control over their healthcare decisions
  • A majority favors the provision of Obamacare that bans discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, and a strong majority favors government action to help those people.
  • There is near universal agreement that the US education system is significantly lacking. Just one quarter of women say it is “good” or “excellent”.
  • Smarter use of the money already there – not more money – is preferred as a way to improve education.
  • Paying for their children’s (or their own) college education is high on the list of economic anxieties.
    • But cost is also viewed in the context of preparing students for jobs.
  • Women favor expanding opportunities outside the college track more than they favor a college-for-all message.
    • They strongly support high quality apprenticeship programs and other occupational education programs. They recognize that while post-secondary education is important to find a good paying job that need not mean traditional four-year college for everyone.
  • Strategies for decreasing the actual cost of higher education are critical.  The interest on student college loans is not as important as cutting the cost of college.
  • Only a small fraction of women (22%) express a willingness to pay higher energy bills to combat climate change, with a majority (56%) seeking alternative methods of reducing the risks climate change poses.

Economy and the Future

Women seem skeptical about the economic solutions offered by current leadership. A majority (57%) believe the nation is on the wrong track economically.   

  • Only 25% believe they are better off than the two previous generations and 44% believe they are worse off.
    • The remaining women (28%) believe things are stagnant – reporting they are about the same as the previous two generations.
  • Looking to the future, almost two thirds of women (63%) believe the next two generations will be worse off than they are.
    • Only 13% believe things will improve for those younger people.

Messaging Alert: Appeal to All Three: Job Creators, Job Holders and Job Seekers

Women report their greatest economic concerns are household concerns. These economic worries portray a sense of daily struggle to provide for the family’s basic needs, while planning for future items on the wish list, and overall financial security. Notably, “job security” is further down the list of financial challenges, registering at just 6%. Economy and jobs should be tackled separately.

Graph 1

Women and the Workplace

Women want fairness and flexibility in the workplace.

  • About 60% of women report they have not personally experienced gender discrimination.
  • However, almost 80% of women (79%) agree that, generally speaking, women are paid less than men for doing the same kind of work. Of those who agree, about 71% strongly agree.
  • Women are hungry for flexibility in the workplace.
    • Nearly 9-in-10 women surveyed (89%) agree that employers should be able to offer their employees the choice of overtime pay or time off, providing more flexibility for their workers. Of those who agree with this statement, 75% say they “strongly agree.”
    • Almost half of women (49%) support letting employers offer both paid leave and flexible work arrangements like telecommuting or compressed work schedules, in return for not being subject to state regulations such as paid leave requirements.
    • Just 20% of women say they would strongly oppose this. Another 17% may well be open to the idea if they learn more – they indicate now that they just don’t know or cannot judge, likely because they are unfamiliar with those types of alternative arrangements in practice.

Marriage as a Cultural Component and Pro-Family Tax Reform

  • Over half (56%) of women believe that the declining marriage rate in the US is making the overall culture and prosperity of the country worse off.
  • Over three-quarters of women support reforms that would assure Americans that getting married would not cost them money in taxes or lost government benefits.
  • There was general support for the idea of increasing the child tax credit.
    • The language:  “expanding the child tax credit to allow parents to keep more of their own money” garnered the most support at 78% (N=397).
    • Support stayed strong when specific numbers rather than general language was used. Two-thirds (66%) supported this statement: “…a proposal that people have made to try to help middle-class families’ budgets – Increase the child tax credit by 50% from $1000 to $1500.

Employment and Economic Policies

Women favor an increase in the minimum wage but also acknowledge the force of some arguments against it.

Women seem to want a spectrum of solutions to grow the economy, rather than a single silver bullet. By a margin of 40%-6%, they say that cutting government spending is preferred to increasing government spending. “Debt” is a four-letter word to these women.

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When asked specifically what the likely effect of raising the minimum wage would be, most women identify a number of deleterious effects.

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  • Women have a strong pragmatic streak when it comes to policies to helping the unemployed.
    • Almost 60% of women (58%) believe that tax credits for companies hiring the long-term unemployed is a better plan than extending unemployment benefits. Just 27% believe that extending unemployment is better and 13% either don’t know or can’t judge which is better.
    • This support for a tax credit approach did not vary significantly by party affiliation, employment status or general ideology of conservative, moderate or liberal.
  • There was comparable support (60%) that the government use some of the money spent on unemployment benefits to help jobless people move to take an available job in another location.
    • Again, support for this varied very little by party affiliation, employment status or general ideology.

Protecting the Poor: Role of the Safety Net 

A strong 88% majority believe that able-bodied adults who receive food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of public assistance should be required to work or to look for work.

Over 70% of women (71%) agree with the view on welfare spending below and of those 71% in agreement, 71% say they agree strongly.
“Welfare programs should be available to provide temporary assistance for the needy but our top priority should be to reform the safety net so that it does not discourage people from helping themselves.”

Drawing only 25% support was a statement heavier with “compassion and protection” language:
“A compassionate society must provide government benefits to help the poor with their basic needs and our top priority should be to protect and strengthen that safety net.”

Healthcare Reform 

When asked simply about approval or disapproval of the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, results are evenly split though there is slightly more intensity among those who disapprove (38% strongly disapprove vs. 30% who strongly approve).  

However, there are significant differences at the racial, ideological and party affiliation differences, as illustrated in the graph below. Remarkably, only 38% of adult women who call themselves “Independents” approve of the federal healthcare law in its ninth month of implementation.

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  • Asked to predict how ACA will affect them, women split along similar lines. Partisanship is a strong predictor of women’s views toward the healthcare law’s consequences.
  • Apart from their calculation of direct impact, it is important to remember that when it comes to healthcare, women see themselves as surrogates for other people in their lives. Stories of others’ losing coverage or facing higher costs has an effect as well.

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  • Asked whether they believe the ACA has increased, decreased or had no effect on their insurance premiums, Democrats were most likely to believe ACA had no effect (60%) and republicans more likely to believe the ACA was responsible for the increase in premiums (61%).
  • A 51% majority of women either want Obamacare repealed and replaced (32%) or want major fixes to it (19%), compared to 42% who would prefer leaving it “as is” (10%) or making only minor fixes (32%).
  • While self-identified Republicans are far more likely to want it repealed and replaced and Democrats more likely to want just minor fixes, Independents are narrowly divided.

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  • Women remain open to a variety of changes or refinements to the ACA. One reason for this, despite their approval or disapproval of the law, is that over half (53%) of women feel they have less control over their healthcare decisions since it was implemented.
  • Just under 60% of respondents (57%) say they favor the idea of tax credits for those who do not receive insurance through their employer to help pay for them to buy insurance.
  • Though approval of ACA splits along racial, partisan and ideological lines, there is NO such split in the approval of this idea. In fact, the only statistical difference is that Hispanics are somewhat more likely to favor the idea and favor it strongly.
  • A plurality of respondents (48%) supports the idea of catastrophic coverage as described in the survey – lower costs, major expenses covered, routine care out-of-pocket.
  • Only 4% of respondents don’t think that the government should try to help people with pre-existing conditions. Over half (53%) think it should be illegal to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and 38% believe we should find some other way to help these people.



Only one quarter (26%) of respondents believe our education system in the United States is “good” or “excellent.” This leaves 72% who believe it is “fair” or “poor” and only 2% who cannot judge or don’t know. This view is statistically consistent across demographic categories with several exceptions:

  • Democrats are slightly more likely (33%) to rate schools good or excellent.
  • Parents are less likely than non-parents to rate the education system as fair or poor (69% v 77%). In this way, familiarity breeds contempt. It may also be that positive views of their local school system influences their view of the broader system.

There is a consensus that more money will not necessarily produce better results. Both Republicans and married women are statistically more likely to have mentioned that better use of the money we already have is the greatest need (49% and 45%, respectively).

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K-12 Education

  • Half of women (50%) believe that the Federal government is too involved in K-12 school quality, making it more likely to yield red tape than improve education.
  • White women are statistically more likely to agree with this position than minority women (white: 57%, black: 39%, Hispanic: 31% and Asian: 31%).
  • Married mothers were also more likely to agree – at 55%.
  • Independents and Republicans were statistically more likely to agree with this position as well – 53% and 69%, respectively.
  • A belief that the Federal government has a vital role to play is held by 41% of women who believe that the government should hold states accountable for K – 12 school quality and ensure that no child is left behind.
  • Again, minority women were more likely to agree with this statement than were white women. Ten percent of women don’t know or can’t judge.
  • Unmarried mothers were also more likely to agree – at 46%.
  • Democrats were much more likely to agree with the belief that the Federal government should play a vital role – 58% indicating agreement while just 37% and 23% of Independents and Republicans agreed, respectively.

There is a desire for less heavy-handed government involvement:

  • 72% support for giving parents and students in public schools flexibility to choose the classes and courses that suit them.
  • Over half (53%) support the idea of allowing teachers more flexibility by removing some regulations on teaching. However, one quarter (23%) of the remainder simply don’t know or cannot judge their viewpoint on this idea.

Post-Secondary Education

Two-thirds (66%) of women agree, with 52% in strong agreement, with the following statement:
“Because it is unrealistic to expect everyone to go to college, we should have more occupational education like high quality apprenticeship programs.”

Party affiliation does not seem to play a factor in these opinions.

Well over half of women (58%) support the following statement by an hypothetical congressman regarding the burden of student loans:
“We should enact policies that cut the cost of college so that students don’t have to borrow so much money in the first place.”

Married mothers are more likely than unmarried mothers to support this view (62% v. 41%).


Women are unwilling to see the cost of combating climate change come out of their own purses.They are skeptical of climate change, especially if it means that “solving” it means paying more for fuel. Given the choice between hugging one’s wallet and hugging a tree, the wallet normally wins.

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Women seem to be spooked by the anti-frackers, whose concerns about environmental risk are enough to upend the prospect of increasing supplies and decreasing prices. A 45%-plurality of women support a decrease in “fracking” while 33% support increasing “fracking” when tested this way, and 30% don’t know or cannot judge whether it should be increased or decreased—suggesting that education could make a difference. 


the polling company, inc./WomanTrend is pleased to present to YG Network this analysis of findings from a nationwide survey of 800 adult women conducted June 6-10, 2014. 

This nationwide, dual-frame survey (70% landline; 30% cell phones) was conducted at a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) phone facility using live callers. Sampling controls were used to ensure that a proportional and representative number of voters were interviewed from demographic groups as age, race and ethnicity, and geographic region. Survey data were weighted slightly by race only.  Final questionnaire language was approved by April Ponnuru and Kate O’Beirne from YG Network prior to fielding.

The margin of error is calculated at ±3.5% at the 95% confidence level, meaning that in 19 out of 20 cases, the results obtained would differ by no more than three point one percentage points in either direction if the entire nationwide adult population of women were to be surveyed. Margins of error for subgroups are higher.

Key demographic characteristics of the adult women surveyed approximate the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics. 

Racially, the survey was comprised of 59% Caucasian or white; 16% African-American or black; 13% Hispanic or Latino; 4% Asian or Pacific Islander; 1% Native American, and; 6% other.

By Age, 18-24 = 11%; 25-34 = 19%; 35-44 18%; 45-54% 16%; 55-64 15%; 16% 65+. 

Geographically: 18% Northeast; 22% Midwest; 37% South; 23% West.

Marital Status: 26% Single, never married; 51% Married; 19% Single, previously   married; 3% Refused

Family Status:

  • 36% Children in the home
  • 37% Children no longer live in home
  • 25% Never had children
  • 3% Refused