RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When it comes to the ultimate glass ceiling, Hillary Clinton came closer to breaking it than any other woman.
You can debate until the end of time about why she did not. But seven years later, a new Meredith College Poll found 67% of North Carolina voters think men and women make equally good political leaders.
“It is good news that most North Carolinians think that the gender doesn’t matter as far as the political leader, what matters more is their character or their political attitudes,” said Whitney Ross Manzo, Associate Professor of Political Science at Meredith College and Assistant Director of the Meredith Poll.
The poll also found that 47% of North Carolina voters think there is no difference between which gender is better at standing up to political pressure. Most think they both are fairly even when it comes to keeping the government honest.
Those who don’t agree give women the edge. The same is true when it comes to compromise. That answer, though, is complicated.
“And what’s interesting about compromise, is that your political party will emphasize if you think that’s good or not so in general. Democrats tend to think of compromise as a positive thing, and Republicans tend to think of compromise as a negative thing. One distinct difference that we have found is that whenever Democratic women run for office, they emphasize their gender and whenever Republican women run for office, they don’t. And so that is an interesting difference between the parties among women,” said Manzo.
Fifty-one percent of voters also said there is no difference in how either gender deals with crime and public safety. But Manzo said whenever it becomes a specific female candidate, people are more hesitant.
“What is causing this difference between being OK with voting for a generic female candidate and not being OK with voting for a specific female candidate? We haven’t found that that bridge yet. I think that a lot of people think that a woman would be a great idea theoretically, as a political candidate. But then when it comes time to actually voting for a woman, they don’t give her those qualities. So, then they don’t vote for her,” said Manzo.
The highest number deals with the economy. Fifty-eight percent believe there is no difference between male or female politicians when comes to job creation, economic issues and the budget.
“Many of our respondents said the number one thing they wish that candidates were talking about more is the economy. And so, the fact that they see women as doing so well on economic issues indicates that they could be ready to hear women candidates talking about the economy and ready to vote for them in 2024. I’ll be really interested to see these results in about 6 months and see how if they change at all based on actually seeing women running for office,” said Manzo.
The Meredith Poll sampled 801 respondents, with a confidence interval of +/- 3.5%. The survey was in the field from September 16-19, 2023.