Why don’t Republican women have a problem with Rick Santorum?

posted at 3:05 pm on March 20, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza marvels at Rick Santorum’s increasing polling strength among Republican women, as measured by a new Washington Post/ABC News poll:

Judging from the coverage of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign over the last few weeks, you might think that the former Pennsylvania Senator’s numbers would be cratering among women.

But you would be wrong. Way wrong.

In a new Washington Post-ABC poll, Santorum’s numbers among Republican and Republican-leaning women have soared over the past month. He now has the highest favorability rating among that group of any of the top-tier Republican presidential candidates. …

The poll numbers reinforce findings from recent exit polls that suggest Santorum is holding steady — if not strengthening — among Republican women. In Alabama, Santorum beat former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by eight points among women; in Mississippi, Santorum took 35 percent among women to 32 percent for Romney.

Cillizza cites three theories for why Santorum has proved so popular with the fairer sex. One theory suggests his increased favorability rating among females is just the result of growing recognition of Santorum’s name, in general. Another suggests women find him a sympathetic figure because he has endured a relentless onslaught of attacks for his social views from the media. A third suggests that he’s successfully framed the key “women’s issue” of this election — the contraception mandate — as more about government encroachment on personal beliefs than about contraception itself.

None of these theories goes far enough. Increased name recognition, for example, doesn’t explain why women like Santorum more than men do. The media theory discounts the truth that all the GOP candidates have been relentlessly vetted by the MSM. The third theory ignores that Santorum hasn’t always done a good job framing the contraception issue in terms of freedom.

So what is it? As a Republican woman who has liked Rick Santorum ever since I first read of his pro-life work as a senator (in an e-mail from a pro-life list-serv to which I was subscribed), I can at least speak for myself. I appreciate that Rick Santorum speaks up for the many women in this country who do have radically different views from the mainstream about what women are uniquely able to offer to society. For too long, feminists have pretended to speak for all of us — as though we are all eager to neuter ourselves, to obliterate gender difference, to deny our own fertility. When Santorum speaks about social issues, I hear in his voice a kind of awe at the mystery of womanhood that is sadly lacking among liberals. His awareness that only women can be mothers — and that mothering, whether physical or spiritual, is something every society needs — permeates his views about, for example, contraception and stay-at-home motherhood as one of the most important careers a woman can choose. Plenty of women never articulate their views about what it means to be a woman, but most of us sense innately that we are different from men and that, in that difference, there is also a complementarity. When we pretend to be like men to prove our equality, that complementarity is lost. When we embrace what makes us women — namely, our unique ability to give birth to the next generation (again, both physically and spiritually) — that complementarity is restored. Santorum encourages us to do just that — to embrace our womanhood.

It’s crazy, isn’t it? That a man has, in a way, become the first in a long time to speak up for the right of women to be women. While the rest of society tells us our fertility is a disease, Santorum tells us (and shows us by his own family) it’s our glory and our strength, our greatest source of influence. What woman wouldn’t like to hear that? We’re not just our fertility, of course, and not all women are able to physically have children, but I fail to see how the denial of a woman’s potential for physical and spiritual motherhood is at all empowering or uplifting.

Again, I speak only for myself here, but I’d be very surprised if many women, even if only subconsciously, aren’t drawn to Santorum as a candidate for the same reasons I am.


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What?

Women for strong marriage and against sexual immority?

Now, remind me just WHO is surprised by this?

Tom C on March 20, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Not speaking for everyone mind you, but maybe it’s because we’re smart enough to filter through the bu!!sh%t and decide for ourselves what is important to us? And I’m not a backer of any of these horses at the moment,still making up my mind. And for all the pi$$ing and moaning that’s going on about how the Dimmi’s and the RNC elite are picking our candidates for us, I see a lot of that amongst ourselves. I’ll make my decision when the time is right, for my country, and myself.

waterytart on March 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Tina, there are other women in the country, not just conservative or evangelical women who vote in the GOP primaries. Trying to generate a false premise from a segmented and selected sample is hardly proper.

galtani on March 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

No, those are the TruAmericans. No one else counts. You don’t count if you live outside the South or Midwest, and you are on double top secret probation if you live in the suburbs or city.

antisense on March 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Tina, there are other women in the country, not just conservative or evangelical women who vote in the GOP primaries. Trying to generate a false premise from a segmented and selected sample is hardly proper.

galtani on March 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I’m thinking Tina was brought in to be the voice of pure social conservatism- perhaps to counter Allahpundits edgy conservatism. It can be a bit over the top at times….she’s gushing about the kid from Growing Pains on the other thread.

BettyRuth on March 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Funny how you claim to care sooo much about “limited government,” but spend all your time whining about Santorum rather than Romneycare.

tom on March 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Remember that after Newt won South Carolina, all of these guys were complaining loudly about how they couldn’t believe values voters would ever vote for Gingrich because of his adultery. Now they’ve turned on a dime and are complaining that Santorum is too socially conservative and doesn’t respect limited government.

They will say whatever they have to in order to get Romney in, that is the bottom line.

Doomberg on March 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Sorry. This is one woman who prefers Newt. If not Newt then, *shudder* Romney. Too bad Paul is too much to bear on his foreign policy stance. *sigh*

totherightofthem on March 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Why don’t Republican women have a problem with Rick Santorum?

Because their are all under kitchen arrest?

Falz on March 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Funny how you claim to care sooo much about “limited government,” but spend all your time whining about Santorum rather than Romneycare.

tom on March 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I’m not a citizen of Massachusetts, for one. It is a 10th Amendment issue, you know.

Additionally, the subject of this blog post is Santorum, not Romney, so why are you trying to change the subject?

Dante on March 20, 2012 at 4:47 PM

How is it changing the subject to suggest your outrage is more than a little bit hypocritical?

And if it doesn’t worry you that someone with such an expansive view of government now wants to be president, then I’d suggest “hypocritical outrage” is very much on target.

tom on March 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Nothing sexier than a man who is in love with his wife and kids.

elm on March 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Any libertarian or or pure liberal view, or pure natural view as in natural law, ok, would let the Santorum family live how ever they want to. Gee, it would be none of anyone’s business.

A Mitt supporter.

Fleuries on March 20, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Here’s what ASTOUNDS ME about “Republican Women!”

THEY’LL RUSH TO QUOTE A SPECIOUS WAPO/ABC POLL WHEN IT SUITS THEIR PURPOSE.

as measured by a new Washington Post/ABC News poll:

PULLEEZE. TINA. THIS IS LUDICROUS.

Republican women don’t support Rick Santorum; Chris Cillizza says so? Well, then!

Are you for real?

THIS IS LAUGHABLE.

mountainaires on March 20, 2012 at 5:59 PM

THIS woman still believes that Rick Perry was the best option, loathes Ronulan, and isn’t thrilled with the other 3.
How’s that.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I’m a Republican woman, more libertarian, and I can’t stand Santorum. He wants government interference in private actions between consenting adults just like the left wants nanny control of what you eat. In addition to that, he is NOT a fiscal conservative, an attitude made very clear when he said “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

So do we really want someone who votes to expand the Federal government just like Bush and Obama or do we want someone who actually follows the true meaning of the Constitution and limited government? The best choices in the race have already dropped out, but I’d rather have Romney flip-flopper than holier-than-thou Santorum.

Example:
He took earmarks, voted for the Medicare prescription drug plan and backed No Child Left Behind. He pushed dairy subsidies, steel tariffs and sided with unions over workers.

Common Sense on March 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

The March 15-19 Gallup Daily tracking results, based on 1,157 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, are similar to Gallup’s March 12-18 weekly average in which Romney was favored by 34% and Santorum by 28%.

According to that larger compilation of data, Romney holds slight leads over Santorum among men, women, residents of the East and the South, and Republicans aged 55 and older. Romney has more substantial leads among moderate/liberal Republicans, those living in the West, voters aged 18 to 34, and those who attend church or another place of worship less than weekly.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/153350/Romney-Maintains-Slight-Edge-Santorum.aspx

Rick Santorum helped win women voters for OBAMA.

Women voters have shown more loyalty than men to Obama, particularly as the recent debate over contraception has engulfed the GOP.

A recent Fox News poll showed women preferring Obama 49 percent to 37 percent in a head-to-head matchup with Romney. Men favored Romney 48 percent to 43 percent.

http://news.yahoo.com/ann-romney-makes-pitch-women-voters-134527348.html

mountainaires on March 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Why don’t Republican women have a problem with Rick Santorum?

Just to be cheeky, is it because they’re not primarily government teat sucking free-loading sluts that also favor infanticide because they have a hair appt on Tuesday?

Just a guess…

Tim Zank on March 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM

THIS woman still believes that Rick Perry was the best option, loathes Ronulan, and isn’t thrilled with the other 3.
How’s that.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I tend to agree with you, I still think Perry has the requisite tools and skills and record for the job.

Tim Zank on March 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

THIS woman still believes that Rick Perry was the best option, loathes Ronulan, and isn’t thrilled with the other 3.
How’s that.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

.
At least you’re not Sandra Fluke.

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

At least you’re not Sandra Fluke.

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Run…NOW!
*Grrrr*

annoyinglittletwerp on March 20, 2012 at 6:18 PM

No, those are the TruAmericans. No one else counts. You don’t count if you live outside the South or Midwest, and you are on double top secret probation if you live in the suburbs or city.

antisense on March 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Ok, let’s try it again:

No, those are the TruAmericans. No one else counts. You don’t count if you live outside the South or Midwest unable to be “self-sufficient”, and you are on double top secret probation if you live in the suburbs or city are totally dependent on Government ‘redistribution of wealth’ to survive.

.
Any feed-back?

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM

At least you’re not Sandra Fluke.

listens2glenn
on March 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Run…NOW!
*Grrrr*

annoyinglittletwerp on March 20, 2012 at 6:18 PM

.
: )

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:23 PM

No, those are the TruAmericans. No one else counts. You don’t count if you live outside the South or Midwest you’re unable to be “self-sufficient”, and you are on double top secret probation if you live in the suburbs or city are totally dependent on Government ‘redistribution of wealth’ to survive.

.
Any feed-back?

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Left out an important word, %#@*!!!

listens2glenn on March 20, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Just ugh. Found this via facebook. Knit a uterus to donate to Rick Santorum. I’m not a social con but my immediate response to this stupidity is to knit a fetus for Jezebel and their comrades:

If you’ve got some spare time and know how to knit or crochet, pick one of these patterns (or devise your own), fill out this form so they can keep track of who’s getting what, and then mail off the finished product to the statesman of your choice. It might not end the war on women, but at least it will give our beloved representatives something soft to cuddle when they have nightmares about slut-demons and whore-monsters taking over the world with our birth-control riddled godzila-sized vaginas.

Buy Danish on March 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

I wonder how women will respond to his wife now that she’s taking a stronger role in the campaign. I watched her on Piers Morgan last night and I loved her. I thought she was lovely and smart and funny and gracious. She’s quite an accomplished woman, too, with a nursing degree, a law degree and as the full-time mom of a lovely family, including the beautiful Bella.

It boggles the mind that these sad young women can’t look at Karen Santorum and see that she is exactly what our grandmothers fought for. She is a woman of faith, which she practices fully and freely, she is educated as both a nurse and a lawyer, she is a writer, she is a mother not only to her beautiful older children, but to a special needs child, and she has the full support of her husband and supports him in turn.

How can anyone look at Karen Santorum and claim he is engaging in a “war on women”?

Carolina21 on March 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Tina,

I get the feeling that in some staff meeting three months ago, you were picked to push Santorum. You know, to keep the process going…You guys here at HA are so predictable now. It’s a shame that revenue drives conservative blogs now…Santorum is never going to be President, at least not in this election cycle. He has hit his high water mark as the ABR. Yes, southern conservatives kept his campaign on life support. Yet, a man who declares, let’s take it to the convention and suddenly the majority of delegates will disavow their state elections which went for Romney, and swing to Santorum…yeah right! That’s going to happen…He’s a big government career politician. Exactly the kind of man the founders could never have envisioned as leading this great nation…The founders envisioned disinterested civil servants who did their duty and went home. Santorum went almost directly from law school to the Congress. He stayed as long as he could until he was called back by the PA people in 2006. He’s just another career pol feathering his nest at taxpayers expense…Conservative alternative? What a joke!

Nozzle on March 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM

The Republican women I know don’t consider birth control and abortion the most important things in their life. They believe life begins at conception as Santorum does. They respect a man who stands up for what he believes even if it is NOT politically correct. They respect a man who tries to be faithful to his religion even when it is difficult and not popular to do so. They can see he is a man who respects women in every way including as mothers.

lukjuj on March 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Maybe i am a little strange. As a woman, I never view any candidate in regard to my own personal sexual identity as a person. My issues are all issues, and none directly related to my femininity.

shar61 on March 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

that sex in marriage is for pro-creation only, for example – some married people are physically unable to pro-create, and that is not their fault.
TigerPaw on March 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

It is not Catholic teaching that you can’t have sex when you are unable to pro-create, just that when you do have sex, you need to be open to the possibility that a child might be conceived that night, and welcome it lovingly.

cptacek on March 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Maybe i am a little strange. As a woman, I never view any candidate in regard to my own personal sexual identity as a person. My issues are all issues, and none directly related to my femininity.
shar61 on March 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Weirdo!/

Buy Danish on March 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

How is it changing the subject to suggest your outrage is more than a little bit hypocritical?

And if it doesn’t worry you that someone with such an expansive view of government now wants to be president, then I’d suggest “hypocritical outrage” is very much on target.

tom on March 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

So now you’re going from trying to change the subject to creating a straw man.

Dante on March 21, 2012 at 10:27 AM

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