Turns Out, American Women Can Agree on a Few Key Issues Across Party Lines

Though we live in a polarized society, Democrat, Republican, and Independent women see eye to eye on some of the central problems facing the nation today.

These days, there is plenty for Americans to stress out about. From rising health care costs, to global instability, to the rising threat of gun violence in the United States, Americans have their hands full. Not to mention a growing partisan divide that is creating suspicion and animosity across party lines.

A recent National Geographic/Ipsos poll surveyed American women to learn how they rank a range of issues – including health care, climate change, and discrimination – as problems in the United States today.

American women agree: the cost of health care tops the list as one of the most significant issues facing the nation, with 95% of American women responding that it is a big or moderate problem. Personal safety and other aspects of healthcare round out the top of the list with violent crime (92%), access to quality health care (89%), terrorism (86%) and gun violence (86%) all seen as significant problems.

Breaking down these findings by political affiliation, we see that Democrat and Republican women tend to prioritize issues differently. Democrat women are also more likely to view the chosen issues as big or moderate problems than their Republican and Independent peers, with one exception. Republican women ranked terrorism as more of a problem than Independents and Democrats.

Independent women tend to track with the average, falling in the middle of their Republican and Democrat counterparts and tending to deviate only one or two percentage points from the average.

How American women prioritize issues across political lines

National Geographic/Ipsos National Poll of Women, conducted September 25th to October 2nd, 2019

American women are aligned across party lines on three key issues: the cost of health care, violent crime, and terrorism.

 

Republican

Democrat

Independent

Total

Cost of Health Care

91%

98%

96%

95%

Violent Crime

92%

92%

95%

92%

Terrorism

88%

85%

86%

86%

Access to Quality Health Care

79%

95%

88%

89%

National Geographic/Ipsos National Poll of Women, conducted September 25th to October 2nd, 2019

In other areas Republican and Democrat women are split, notably around issues like climate change and sexual discrimination. Democrats and Republicans demonstrated a 45- and 43-point split on climate change and sexual discrimination, respectively. Half of Republican women said that climate change is a small problem, compared to the 95% of Democrats who said that it is a big or moderate problem.

Independents tended to track with Democrats most closely around issues like affordable child care and sexual harassment, with at least 8 in 10 Independent and Democrat women believing that these issues are big or moderate problems.

 

Republican

Democrat

GOP/Dem split

Climate Change

50%

95%

45%

Sexual Discrimination

48%

91%

43%

Racial Discrimination

55%

94%

39%

Sexual Harassment

61%

91%

30%

Gun violence

73%

98%

25%

Affordable Child Care

68%

86%

18%

National Geographic/Ipsos National Poll of Women, conducted September 25th to October 2nd, 2019

When asked what the biggest problem is facing women (rather than the country) today, respondents demonstrated divisions across party lines. According to Democrats (32%), pay discrimination is the biggest issue facing women. Republican women (58%) and Independents (38 %) were more likely to say that balancing family and career is the biggest challenge facing women.

This disparity shows where Republican and Democrat priorities lie: Republicans are concerned with the exigencies of daily life at home and on the job. Nearly 1 in 4 Democrat women agree, but another 1 in 4 are worried about with issues like harassment, and more still are concerned with pay discrimination.

Though women ranked accessing health care and the cost of health care as some of the most significant hurdles facing the nation, they did not rate it highly as a challenge specific to women.

Biggest problems facing women

National Geographic/Ipsos National Poll of Women, conducted September 25th to October 2nd, 2019

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