Republican women want paid family leave. GOP men begin to board
President Joe Biden’s attempt to impose paid family leave has the backing of an unexpected constituency: Republican women.
Consistently, more than half of Republican women support paid family and medical leave, even when it is a Democratic proposal. Republican men, meanwhile, haven’t always agreed, but are closing in on the idea.
The Morning Consult / Politico poll followed public opinion among registered voters throughout August on various measures that could be included in Democratic lawmakers’ $ 3.5 trillion budget framework, which Biden introduced. as a way to strengthen the social safety net.
It’s an unusual split. In general, men and women of the same party do not differ greatly on policies, especially issues related to “pocket books” which have an impact on household budgets. There is no significant difference between male and female Democratic voters on paid family leave, and Republican men and women tend to agree on other measures Democrats should pursue through reconciliation.
“We tend to be the more traditional party and gender roles tend to be defined in a more traditional way,” said Kodiak Hill-Davis, founder and political director of Republican Women for Progress. “It leaves knowledge gaps, and when you consider the gap in understanding why something would benefit the family, it makes perfect sense that Republican women see the benefit.”
Demographic trends could also explain why we are seeing the early gap between Republican men and women, said Samuel Hammond, director of poverty and welfare policy at the Niskanen Center who has written on family-centered policies. such as the child tax credit.
Low-income and Republican-inclined working-class households tend to have a stronger preference for more traditional family models or for (generally) having a caregiver, he said, compared to collar families. college-educated whites – especially when that family includes a woman with a college degree – who tend to lean towards the Democrat.
In the most recent poll, conducted August 28-30, 62 percent of Republican women said they supported including paid family and medical leave in the democratic reconciliation agenda. This share remained relatively stable throughout the month, increasing by a few points since July 31-August. 2, when 59 percent said they supported the measure, within the sample’s margin of error of 5 percentage points.
During the same period, male GOP support for paid vacation increased from 44% to 56%. More dramatically, opposition to paid family and medical leave has declined dramatically, from 51% to 33%.
This means that the net support gap – the part of supporters minus the part of opponents – between male and female Republicans has narrowed considerably. In the first survey, women’s net support for the measure was 35 points higher than that of men. This fell to 10 points in the most recent poll.
Hill-Davis hypothesized that the growing male support of the GOP and the diminishing opposition had something to do with the burgeoning delta variant again threatening to close schools and increasing demands on women, by particular at home.
“There is a collective recognition of the harshness of the pandemic for women, in particular,” she said. “If Republicans don’t put in place positive measures that would be seen as family support, in the long run it could be a real risk.”
Still, GOP women are unlikely to change their vote, whether for a presidential election or for local representatives in future terms, according to Republican strategists who focus on women in their party.
“It’s hard for me to think of this as a talking point that you’re going to win the women’s or suburban vote with,” said Joanna Burgos, Republican strategist at OnMessage Inc. and former deputy director of communication to the National Republican Congressional. Committee, which noted that women in the GOP, as well as the rest of the party, tend to prioritize other issues. “If a voter hears a candidate speak favorably about family leave, it will likely improve their image of that candidate, but it will not improve their place on the ballot.”
For Democrats, it might be possible to unravel educated and disgruntled women in the Republican Party, especially in the suburbs, where some voters have already distanced themselves from the party due to former President Donald Trump’s tenure, Hill said- Davis, adding that it depends on how effectively Democrats are able to deliver the various measures of the reconciliation package.
But this is a limited opportunity. The core of Republican women voters are unlikely to be swayed by paid family leave, even if they support it, she said.
“Even if Republican women are okay with paid family leave in principle, I think talking points about reconciliation as a whole will diminish any possible chance that Democrats will remove significant numbers of Republican women,” he said. said Hill-Davis.