In the 2022 midterm elections, 48% of women voted Republican. That’s nearly half of women voters that may vote for Republican candidates again in 2024 — women are a vital part of the electorate and critical to representation in elected office. We are tracking both this election cycle.
As the Republican primary debates progress, we will release reports about how, when and why candidates address Republican women’s top issues. Our next report will follow the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday, September 27.
AIT used May poll data to identify the four most important issues for Republican women. Those issues were cost of living, immigration, abortion and guns and crime.
Our analysis from the first Republican primary debate on August 23 shows that Republican women’s top issues were hardly discussed by prospective candidates. Other topics, like foreign policy and education, received much more attention than those vital to women voters.
Immigration was the only topic mentioned by all candidates during the debate. Cost of living, the number-one issue for Republican women, was mentioned the least throughout the debate and was neglected entirely by three candidates.
Only three candidates, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Doug Burgum, spoke about all four issues. Most candidates managed to touch on three of the four topics, but Vivek Ramaswamy only mentioned two.
When discussing women’s top-priority issues, candidates seemed to focus on solutions to these issues. Keywords mentioned alongside these topics were often related to policies or actions that could help solve the problem.
To see more about what each candidate had to say on these topics, click on their bubble in the chart below.
AIT’s explainer of women in the Republican primary electorate shows that they have strong feelings towards this election and seem likely to show up at the polls. In AIT’s August poll, 81% of Republican women said they are “extremely or very motivated” to vote. That’s more than the proportion of Democrat women (72%) or Independent women (52%) who said the same.
Presidential candidates should strive to reach these motivated voters. But so far, women’s issues have received minimal attention in Republican primary debates.
Note: AIT searched for keywords related to these top-priority issues. The data analysis above uses those numbers, but it should be noted that keyword search alone may have missed some mentions of each topic. General trends can still be discovered with this methodology.