Our Research

Keys to Elected Office: The Essential Guide for Women

June 2, 2014

This new guide is the Foundation’s most direct, must-know advice for women elected officials and candidates running for office. From the personal traits, to actions that convey qualification and likeability, to bouncing back from mistakes, this guide is a concise look at what it takes for a woman to run and succeed. For more than 15 years, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has studied every woman’s campaign for governor on both sides of the aisle, including real-time polling on voters’ views and post-election interviews with candidates and campaign staff. Now, this research has been compiled and distilled into a practical 40-page guide available in print, online, and multi-platform mobile app.

Click here to view the full report. [PDF]
(If you are having trouble accessing the file using Internet Explorer,
please try another browser or right click to save pdf file to your computer.)

Change the Channel: Ads that Work for Women Candidates

November 13, 2013

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation worked with a bipartisan research team, led by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, to focus specifically on how voters perceive negative ads by women candidates. In this study, we focused on the impact on the candidate, because we know this factor can be unique and greater for women candidates. Women have an advantage on honesty and ethics, and it is important for them to maintain that advantage, even when they are contrasting with their opponents.

Click here to view the full report. [PDF]
(If you are having trouble accessing the file using Internet Explorer,
please try another browser or right click to save pdf file to your computer.)

Pitch Perfect: Winning Strategies for Women Candidates

November 8, 2012

We’ve all heard it: this perception that “I would vote for a ‘qualified’ woman,” especially when a woman runs for major statewide office. The Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s latest research helps to decode the idea of a qualified woman candidate. It reveals what makes a woman “qualified” in voters’ minds, and how one establishes qualifications and likeability at the same time.

This research provides a clear road map for women who are running for major statewide office: how to introduce themselves to voters to demonstrate their qualifications; what language contributes to voters believing they are qualified; and how to present themselves in a way that conveys they are qualified.

Click here to view the full report.

  • Watch this short video we compiled of recent pitch-perfect campaign ads.
  • Poll: Breakthrough Messages for Women Voters

    April 24, 2012

    The statistics are widely reported: Women make up only 17 percent of Congress but are over 50 percent of the U.S. population. Even President Barack Obama believes Congress would get more done if there were more women in Congress, saying, “I think it’s fair to say: That is almost guaranteed.”

    On behalf of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Lake Research Partners recently conducted a poll (March 29 – April 9, 2012) among 1000 likely voters in key states, with an oversample of 200 young women (age 18-35)* voters, which is the first in-depth look at younger women responding to messages about women candidates. Designed to examine voters’ attitudes toward women candidates and elected officials on both sides of party lines, this poll explores whether voters agree with the President and their beliefs about the disparities in leadership between women and men.

    Click here to view the full report.

    Our Governors Research: Turning Point

    2010 was a turning point in the foundation’s 12 years of non-partisan research on women’s gubernatorial campaigns. Women candidates ran on a more level playing field, as voters prioritized more gender-neutral traits than in past years. In fact, now more than ever, gender may be a strategic asset in women’s campaigns for executive office.

    Click here to read fact sheet about the Turning Point research.

    Turning Point

    Since 1999, The Barbara Lee Family Foundation has underwritten and published extensive research on the relationship between gender and campaigns for executive office. This series of comprehensive guidebooks is available in hard copy, pdf, and here on our website.