About 6 in 10 Americans say it is a good thing that more women are running for Congress this year, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
As women run for office in record numbers, a majority of Americans are expressing excitement about women in politics, but there are notable partisan and gender divisions among the electorate, the poll found.
Republicans surveyed were less likely to view the increasing number of female candidates as a “good thing,” with 39 percent agreeing it is compared to an overwhelming 80 percent of Democrats.
Pew noted the discrepancy could partially be explained by the fact that there are far more women running as Democrats than Republicans this election season.
Sixty-eight percent of women polled said they see the development as positive compared to 54 percent of men. Democratic women were the most likely to express support for more women running for Congress, with 83 percent saying they favor the development. Respondents who identified as Democratic men were not far behind, at 75 percent.
Republican men are the least likely to say it is a good thing, with only 34 percent agreeing with the statement and 54 percent saying it is “neither good nor bad.” Forty-five percent of Republican women said it is a good thing and 47 percent reported feeling neutral about it.
Most of those polled did not explicitly say it is a “bad thing.” The bulk of those who did not agree it is “good” said it is “neither good nor bad.”
The poll offered respondents the opportunity to explain their responses in an open-ended format. One in five adults expressed they believe it is time for a change because the men who have been in charge haven’t done a good job, Pew reported.
Fewer than half of Americans polled said Congress would do a better job of addressing the country’s problems with more women in office, however. Thirty-six percent agreed the “tone of political debate” on Capitol Hill would be more “respectful,” and 34 percent said the government would be more transparent.
About half or more say that the number of women in Congress doesn’t have much to do with each of these areas.
Forty-five percent of Americans say they hope the U.S. will elect a female president in their lifetime, which marks a 7 percent increase since 2014, when 38 percent agreed with the statement.
More Democrats than Republicans said it would be a good thing if a woman from their own party was elected president.
Pew surveyed 4,587 adults from June 19 to July 2. The survey has an error margin of 2.4 points.
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