Beginning in 1999, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation has conducted research every election cycle to study women candidates for Governor and how the voters respond to these campaigns. The research team for the Governors Guidebook Series includes Lake Research Partners, American Viewpoint, Inc., and Hughes & Company (formerly Staton Hughes).
Survey Research and Focus Groups
In 2010, Lake Research Partners (LRP), a Democratic research and consulting firm, and AmericanViewpoint, Inc., a Republican firm, conducted a number of pre- and post-election surveys in ten states with gubernatorial contests. 1
LRP and American Viewpoint conducted pre-election surveys on October 11, 2010 and October 19, 2010 among registered likely voters in the eight states with women gubernatorial candidates (Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming) and two states with only men gubernatorial candidates (Vermont, Wisconsin) as a control group. We also conducted an oversample of young women voters ages 18 to 34 in California, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.
LRP and American Viewpoint screened participants for likelihood to vote in the 2010 General Election. Participants indicated they were undecided in their upcoming vote for Governor or supported one of the candidates, but not strongly. We recruited participants to reflect a mix of ages, occupations, levels of education, marital and parental status, and political orientations, with strong partisans excluded.All participants identified as voters.
For the two states with woman vs. woman races, Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint also conducted seven pre-election focus groups in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Albuquerque, New Mexico, between October 14 – 20, 2010. 2
We conducted post-election surveys between October 31 – November 3, 2010 among general election voters in Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina,Wisconsin,Wyoming, and Vermont.We included oversamples of young women voters ages 18 to 34 in the eight states with at least one woman on the gubernatorial ballot. 3
Campaign Tracking and Interviews
Beginning in August 2010, Hughes & Company led a bipartisan team of researchers who tracked the eight gubernatorial contests in which ten women were nominees of the major political parties.
Candidates for Governor in 2010 were Jan Brewer (R-AZ), Meg Whitman (R-CA), Alex Sink (D-FL), Libby Mitchell (D-ME), Diane Denish (D-NM), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Jari Askins (D-OK), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Nikki Haley (R-SC), and Leslie Petersen (D-WY).
Researchers monitored print and internet coverage, including news websites, campaign websites and blogs. In addition, the team collected copies of campaign commercials and radio and TV broadcast debates. Following the November elections, these researchers interviewed 67 individuals who participated in or observed those campaigns including candidates, campaign managers, finance directors, press secretaries, consultants, party officers, and reporters who covered the race.
1 States with two women on the ballot: Oklahoma and New Mexico. States with a Democratic woman vs. a Republican man on the ballot: Florida, Maine (Maine also had a viable male third party candidate), Wyoming. States with a Republican woman vs. a Democratic man on the ballot: South Carolina, Arizona, California. States with two men on the ballot (control): Wisconsin, Vermont.
2 October 14, Oklahoma City: 1 group among 18 to 35 year old women, mix of race/ ethnicities; 1 group among white women ages 40 to 70; 1 group among white men ages 35 to 65. October 16, Albuquerque: 1 group among white women ages 40 to 70; 1 group among white men ages 35 to 65. October 20, Albuquerque: 1 group among 18 to 35 year old women, mix of race/ethnicities; 1 group among Latinas ages 40 to 70.
3 Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming