Survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters


Voters are more confident that Americans will elect a woman president in the near future, although their willingness to vote for a woman hasn’t changed.


A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters finds that 79 percent think it is at least somewhat likely that a woman will be elected president in the next 10 years. While the overall finding is up only slightly from 77 percent in early 2014, 39 percent now see a woman president as very likely in the next decade, up from 26 percent last year. Just 16 percent now consider it unlikely a woman will be elected president in the next decade, with 5 percent who say it’s not at all likely.


In late 2006 when Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner for the 2008 election, 60 percent expected a woman to be president within the next 10 years, including 23 percent who said it was very likely. Clinton came up short that election cycle but is the frontrunner again, with 75 percent who think she will be her party’s presidential nominee in 2016, including 41 percent who say it’s very likely.


Seventy-nine percent say they personally would be willing to vote for a woman president, basically unchanged from a year ago but down slightly from the 82 percent who felt that way in June 2011. Twenty-one percent would not be willing to vote for a female presidential candidate or are undecided.


Interestingly, however, only 59 percent say their family, friends and coworkers would be willing to elect a woman to the White House, showing little change from last year. Fourteen percent say they would not, and a sizable 27 percent remain undecided. We’ve seen this pattern in surveys since we first asked this question in April 2005: Voters say they are personally willing to vote for a woman president but are less confident that those closest to them would do the same.


Just 16 percent of voters expect the first woman elected to the White House to be politically conservative, while 26 percent believe she will be liberal. Thirty-eight percent think the first woman president will be a political moderate. Voters have consistently said for years that the first woman chief executive is likely to be a moderate. Conservative was the second choice, but voters have shifted away from that view in recent years to believing a liberal will win instead.


Given a choice between a male candidate and a female candidate, with all other things being equal, 26 percent of voters say they would be more likely to choose the man, while 35 percent would vote for the woman. That compares to 29 percent and 31 percent respectively last year. But a sizable number (39 percent) are not sure how they would cast their ballot.