Carly Fiorina Both Man's and Woman's Candidate In Republican Polls

Her recent rise to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates is predicated on gender neutral appeal.


Gage Skidmore/Flickr

One interesting aspect of Carly Fiorina's recent rise to the top-tier of Republican presidential candidates is her apparently gender-neutral appeal. The only woman in the large (but thinning) pack of potential GOP nominees, Fiorina polls similarly among both male and female conservatives. 

In a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last week, Fiorina was the top candidate for 17 percent of female Republican respondents and 14 percent of male respondents. In the CNN/ORC poll before that, Fiorina polled at 3 percent with both men and women. In a poll released a few days before the second Republican presidential debate, she was favored by 6 percent of female and 5 percent of male Republicans.

"The numbers look stunningly different from the Democratic side of the presidential fight, where… Clinton holds a big advantage among female voters," points out Dante Chinni at the Wall Street Journal. Clinton "consistently holds a sizable lead among women voters–20 points or more in recent Marist polls in Iowa and New Hampshire." 

The New York Times last week suggested that Fiorina could offer "a credible antidote to the gender gap and the Democrats' claims of a Republican 'war on women.'" (See my own take on Fiorina's role in Republican gender optics here.) More from the Times piece: 

Winning the female vote is challenging for any Republican. Women have traditionally identified strongly with the Democratic Party, while male voters are split between the two parties.

The largest gender gap ever was recorded in the 2012 presidential election: 20 percentage points, according to Gallup. Mitt Romney won among men by 8 percentage points while President Obama won women by 12 percentage points over all. But among white women, Mr. Obama lost with just 42 percent to Mr. Romney's 56 percent.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank protests that there's no "no evidence" Fiorina—"the CNN-created flavor of the week"—will attract women to the GOP fold "any more than (Herman) Cain brought African Americans." But that doesn't preclude her polling better among Republican women than many of her male counterparts, which could be critical in these early stages. Right now she doesn't need to syphon off women who lean Democrat or independent; she just has to convince registered Republican voters of the female persuasion that she's the best woman for the job. 

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a high-profile Democrat from Missouri, recently said she would "be surprised if (Fiorina) were not selected to be the VP in a campaign where Hillary Clinton is the nominee." But CNN's Julian Zelizer notes that Fiorina "hasn't shown any interest in the vice presidential slot and her supporters say she's running for president, not the second spot," despite the fact that pundits have roundly declared as if on that one. 

I talked about Fiorina's business record and political chances on HuffPost Live yesterday, in a segment starring Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at Yale University. Sonnenfeld was name-dropped by Donald Trump during the second Republican presidential debate as someone highly critical of Fiorina's term as Hewlett-Packard CEO, criticism he reiterates here. I suggested that Fiorina's HP record isn't going to be a terrible liability among Republicans, but will be used against her by Democrats. Check that out here. And find more Reason coverage of Carly Fiorina here

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  1. "he only woman in the large (but thinning) ..."

    Did Christie drop out?

    1. We'd have felt the disturbance in the Richter force.

    2. Fat Christie thinks he will be the last GOP Governor standing to go against Trump.

      But JEB! will be that candidate.

      1. Still flogging the "JEB! will win" prediction, are we?

        1. We aren't, but Shit Sieve is.

          1. All joking aside, he may actually be retarded.

            1. You ran from my bet.

              JEB! against your pick.

              Loser pays the Reason Foundation.

              1. I accepted your bet that you claim JEB! will win the nomination, and you lose $20 to the Reason foundation if he doesn't. I lose $20 to the Reason foundation if he does win. I never made any prediction to bet on, you dishonest little shit.

                1. No, You're welching.

                  I want you on record with your pick.

                  If you take the field I want 12-1 odds.

                  You pay $240 for the field.

                  1. No, you're trying to change the terms so that you don't have to pay out when JEB! loses, and just lying about it. I have no prediction, moron, I am noting that your prediction is idiotic as JEB! has no fucking chance. Oh, fuck it, why am I trying to reason with a retard?

              2. I'll take $20 on Rubio vs Jeb. If Rubio wins you pay $20, if Jeb wins the nomination, I'll pay $20 to Reason.

                1. If Rand wins I'll give $100 to Reason in celebration.

                  1. Even after they run a bunch of articles trying to explain how a Hillary Presidency could be part of a Libertarian Moment?

                2. I'll take $20 on Rubio vs Jeb. If Rubio wins you pay $20, if Jeb wins the nomination, I'll pay $20 to Reason.


                    1. *Shakes hand*

                      If I were you I would wash that thing thoroughly and check for missing jewelry. Some hand sanitizer is probably in order too.

  2. No one is flocking to either women because they like their supposed policies. Lady poll respondents I'm sure identify with their respective party's woman candidate. I have no idea what the GOP male poll respondents see in Fiorina, other than she seems to talk gooder than many of the other candidates.

    1. There seems to be a lot of animosity in the GOP base for elected politicians in general. She's not an elected politician and has the advantage of not being Trump.

    2. The GOP electorate is highly suspicious of someone who utilizes proper English.

      1. Welcome to Retardation: A Celebration. Now, hopefully, I'm gonna dispel a few myths, a few rumors. First off, the retarded don't rule the night. They don't rule it. Nobody does. And they don't run in packs. And while they may not be as strong as apes, don't lock eyes with 'em, don't do it. Puts 'em on edge. They might go into berzerker mode; come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows. You might be screaming "No, no, no" and all they hear is "Who wants cake?" Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.

      2. The Dem. electorate is highly appreciative of a candidate that appropriates highly tortured versions of regional and ethnic dialects.

        1. The Dems also appreciate a "...mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." --Joe Biden on Barack Obama

          1. Biden was right - if not very elegant.

            Obama was no womanizing pizza pitchman selling snake oil.

            1. Yeah, he wasn't an uppity negro, he stayed on the democrat plantation where he belonged!

            2. BOOOOOOOOSH!!!! CAAAAAAAAAIN!!!!

              Let nobody call you a one trick pony ever again. Your shtick is clearly well-rounded.

            3. Obama was an effete community organizing pitchman selling snake oil packaged as Hope and Change. And and absurd number of the electorate bought it.

            4. Well, any idiot could see that he is no womanizer; a completely different kind of snake oil pitchman.

              1. Bill Clinton was deemed 'America's first black president.' I think a similar case could be made that Obama is 'America's first female president.'

                1. +1 pair of Mom Jeans

            5. Re: Peter Caca,

              Obama was no womanizing pizza pitchman selling snake oil.

              Indeed, the other one is a golf-playing old preppy selling snake oil.

      3. One that has no trace of a Negros accent?

    3. I have no idea what the GOP male poll respondents see in Fiorina

      Most likely they hear that BS about how she'd scare the s**t out of Putin, Khamenei and everyone else.

      On a related note, if one trolls an ayatollah, does it make them an ayatrollah?

      1. She says she will make two phone calls her first day as POTUS. One to her "good friend" Bibi the warmonger and the other to warn blah blah blah......

        Her full of shit narrative is well polished.

        1. Hillary supporters like yourself have no standing to complain about war-mongering. Hillary's war-boner has been thoroughly documented. Carly's is untested.

      2. She sold hundreds of millions of dollars of HP equipment to Iran. That's the most hateful thing an American has done to Iran since we sold chemical weapons and anthrax to Saddam to use on them.

        1. No wonder they hate us.

    4. I'll concede that Ms. Fiorina is very good at the quick witticism. She's very good at making the case against whatever she's going against in a way that is genuinely amusing and endearing. It's a great skill for a VP candidate to bring to the table.

  3. Hmmmm...

    Nice picture of Audrey III.

    1. Original ending

      After Audrey is attacked by Audrey II (reprise of "Suppertime"), Seymour rescues Audrey, who is seriously injured. Confessing to Audrey he fed Mushnik and Orin to Audrey II, Audrey requests Seymour feed her to the plant and earn the success he deserves, before she dies in his arms (reprise of "Somewhere That's Green"). Seymour does so, but soon attempts to commit suicide, only to be stopped by a salesman, who offers to reproduce and sell Audrey II. Realizing Audrey II's intentions of world domination, Seymour is warned that his consent isn't necessary as plants are considered public domain, meaning Audrey II has to be destroyed. Returning to the shop, Seymour confronts and tries to kill the plant ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space"), who tears down the shop, plucks Seymour out of the rubble, and eats him alive.

      The three chorus girls appear in front of the American flag and tell how the Audrey II buds became a worldwide consumer craze, but soon, grew into an army of monstrous plants who take over the world ("Don't Feed the Plants"). Giant Audrey II plants are shown destroying cities, toppling buildings and eating people. The U.S. Army attempt to fight the Audrey II buds as the final shot shows the plants ascending the Statue of Liberty.

      1. I prefer that ending as it reminds me slightly of the darker version in which Jack Nicholson played a role.

        Thanks, HM, and may your memory remain sharp and your fingers deft.

        1. You're most welcome. I remember seeing the Corman/Nicholson version when I was in high school. My high school and college experiences have a long strand of Corman movies running through them.

  4. Carly Fiorina Both Man's and Woman's Candidate In Republican Polls

    *Which* man and woman?

  5. So that painting of a flower is supposed to be a symbol for a vagina?

    1. Dreams are a great thing, but you know something? They take a lot of energy. But that's OK. There's a job waiting for you down the block from your house that doesn't require a thought in your head or a hope in your heart. So come on down and work for the artificial flower factory. Why fight it? OK? Thank you.

      1. That factory won't hire him now that the minimum wage is $15. The government has priced him out of the market.

    2. "So that painting of a flower is supposed to be a symbol for a vagina?"

      The painting reminded me of Audrey II, thus my comment above.

    3. Re: Peter Caca,

      So that painting of a flower is supposed to be a symbol for a vagina?

      What isn't a symbol for a vagina these days?

  6. She can handle herself against media gotcha questions and Trump bluster at the same time. She's highly intelligent (I believe she has an engineering degree form MIT?) in a way no one can deny. She has been low enough profile that the dems haven't had a chance to make a mocking caricature of her yet. She only brings up sexism when it is actual sexism, and she doesn't try to pretend that the way the business world worked when she first started is the same way it works now. Why the hell wouldn't people of both genders support her?

    1. Why the hell wouldn't people of both genders support her?

      She has an "R" next to her name, abortion, and some people do not like other people who bleed out of their wherevers.

      1. Not an issue in a republican primary, and applies equally to her competitors. Don't know her opinion on it, most the electorate probably doesn't either, and there are enough single issue voters on both sides to cancel each other out. Not very common in the modern day, even bigots have exceptions for one of the 'good' ones, and she's the anti-Hillary who they hate way way more.

    2. You're right. She is a female Mitt Romney - fairly savvy in business, selling her brand, and marketing presentations. She knows what her customer wants to hear.

      1. If you're going to crib from a Daily Beast article, at least give a link or a hat tip.

    3. Master's degree in management from MIT to go along with a Philosophy degree from Stanford and a MBA from Maryland.

      She also dropped out of law school which should be considered a plus, but considering that her father was a federal judge it could just be a big old "FUCK YOU, DAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR LIFE!"

      1. Ah, less impressive to me, but more impressive to the dems, who would be the ones trying to paint her as stupid.

        1. They just wish she had been more successful as a CEO so they could paint her as evil, but they'll take what they can get

        2. She is quite intelligent. Sarah Palin is bone stupid (why our John loves her).

          Where is John? Did he join the Huckabee campaign?

          1. Are you trying to summon him? How unpopular do you want to become, PB?

  7. AND I find her to be somewhat fine....

  8. "The numbers look stunningly different from the Democratic side of the presidential fight, where... Clinton holds a big advantage among female voters,"

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the Dems propensity for identity politics or the Republican base's leanings towards actual policies?

    While the members of the political class to me seem to all be horses of different colors each party's base are composed of very different critters.

  9. Of the GOP candidates, she is one of my preferred. She isn't a moron. She has administrative experience. She is a bit of a war monger, but aren't they all?

    I will vote for Rand in the primary if he is still in it. Will probably vote for the libertarian in the general. Would strongly prefer Carly to any Dem.

    1. So when I did one of those little quizzes comparing my stance on issues to the candidates all the gop beat all the dnc with one exception. Bernie Sanders slighty beat John Kasich although both got F's percentage wise. Funny since Kasich is my Governer. I knew he was statist ahole. That just confirned it even more.

  10. I can't say that I give a fuck if the question turns out to be Jeb v H.

    As much as I hate Obama, I am not sad that McCain and Romney lost.

    1. I almost hope it does just to furtther drive home the ridiculousness of it all.

  11. The only reason to vote for Fiorina is to take the first woman president boast away from the left. Of course they'll say she's not really a woman because she thinks for herself but that won't matter in the history books. So yeah, just Shadenfreude.

  12. The New York Times last week suggested that Fiorina could offer "a credible antidote to the gender gap

    Why is it that 20% fewer women voting for the Repubs is a gender gap, but 20% fewer men voting for the Dems isn't anything at all?

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