Like it or not, likeability is a non-negotiable quality voters seek in women officeholders and candidates. At the same time, it’s an intangible quality. Voters have difficulty clearly defining what it means to come across as likeable. When it comes to articulating what attracts them to a candidate or officeholder, voters have an “I know it when I see it” mindset.
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.
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation has highlighted shifts in voter perceptions of women candidates. This memo outlines those changes—some concrete and some nuanced—and underscores the trends and themes those changes uncover.
Our past research has consistently shown that women candidates pay a higher price for going negative, even though all candidates must show how they differ from their opponents – it is a necessary part of campaigning. This qualitative research from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation offers evidence-based guidance on how women can successfully contrast with […]