Politics is Personal: Keys to Likeability and Electability for Women
American politics can sometimes feel like a popularity contest. Questions like, “Who would you like to have a beer with?” or “But does she smile enough?” are par for the course. Like it or not, likeability is a non-negotiable quality voters seek in women officeholders and candidates. When it comes to articulating what attracts them to a candidate or officeholder, voters have an “I know it when I see it” mindset.
Click here to read the 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.)
Unlocking the Door to Executive Office: Essential Tips for Women Candidates
November 16, 2015
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation (BLFF) has tracked every woman’s general election race for governor since 1998, and 2014 was no exception. With a goal to continually illuminate opportunities and obstacles for women running for executive office, BLFF worked with Dr. Kelly Dittmar and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to produce qualitative research on the 2014 gubernatorial elections with women candidates.
While the 2014 races for governor didn’t break any records for the number of female candidates, nominees, or winners, nine women won their party’s nomination for governor. Of those nine candidates, five won in the general election. A sixth woman, Kate Brown, became Governor of Oregon in early 2015 after the sitting Governor resigned.
Click here to read the 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.)
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.
Change is Key: What’s New (and Not) for Women in Politics
June 2, 2014
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation has studied every woman candidate’s race for governor on both sides of the aisle since 1998, producing nonpartisan, pragmatic guides for women to maximize their advantages and minimize the roadblocks to success. The progress is clear: When we began this research, only 16 women had ever served as governor. As of this writing, that number has climbed to 35 women in 26 states. While women have lost some of the advantages voters afforded them early on, many obstacles are down.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.