A new poll from CBS News provides some intriguing insights into how women feel about a bunch of hot button political topics — including feminism, #MeToo, Ivanka Trump, and whether more women in politics will make things better — and, to put it simply, it’s complicated.
Asked if they describe themselves as feminists, less than half of the 2,000+ respondents said yes. Among women age 18-35, 46% say they consider themselves feminists. The response is even less enthusiastic among women over 35, with just about one-third (34%) calling themselves feminists.
Of the younger demographic, over twice as many Democrats (63%) identify as feminist as Republicans (29%); just under half of Independents (48%) label themselves feminists.
CBS found that while over two-thirds (69%) of Democratic women and 58% of Independents associate feminism with “political, economic and social equality among the sexes,” only 39% of Republican women do. Republicans “are more likely than Democrats and independents to associate the term with blaming men for women’s challenges,” CBS notes.
With more women running for Congress this year than ever, CBS asked women if they thought more women in power would equal better government. Only 46% say yes. As CBS notes, the responses demonstrate a dramatic partisan divide on the question, with over three-quarters (76%) of Democratic women believing more gender equity would improve government while only one-quarter (25%) of Republican women agree. Less than four-in-ten (39%) Independent women say more women would make things better.
Of those who say they think more women would improve things, young women cite “creating more diversity in politics” (45%) as the main reason over the other options, including raising issues that women care about (33%). “Getting more done” and being more “civil” earn just 16% and 6%, respectively, of the young vote.
Older women feel much more strongly about women getting more done (30%), but similarly don’t have much confidence in women helping make politics more civil (6%). Creating diversity and raising women-related issues earns 34% and 30% from the older demographic.
Asked if the #MeToo movement will eventually make things better for women, about half of young women say yes, while the older demographic is more skeptical. Under half (45%) of younger women say they’d be more likely to back a candidate who supports the movement, while just 29% of older women agree.
CBS also asked women specifically about their impression of Ivanka Trump and found that of the younger women who have a strong opinion about her, most don’t like her much: 46% say they have an unfavorable view of her, while just 18% have a favorable view. Over two-thirds (36%), however, remain undecided.