Madam President

A recent national poll showed that more than 6/10 voters believe the United States is ready for a woman president in 2008 and 53% of them think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton should be the woman to do it. The poll, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute and sponsored by the Hearst Newspapers, found that 81% of voters surveyed would vote for a woman for president; 62% said the country is ready for a woman president; and 67% said a female president would be better than a male chief executive in handling domestic issues.
Dr. Douglas Lonnstrom, director of the Siena Research Institute and professor of statistics, stated: “The results are fascinating and very encouraging for women – and all Americans who want the nation’s highest office held by the best people, regardless of their gender”…. “There was very little difference between men (64%) and women (60%) on whether or not the country was ready for a woman president in 2008 and whether or not respondents were prepared to vote for a woman – 80% of men and 82% of women said ‘yes.’
Now, I’ll believe it when I see it. But this is always nice to hear.
For those of you near Albany (or for anyone who’s interested), Sienna College is hosting a ‘First Woman President’ Symposium on March 4-5 to talk about this issue and to launch Women’s History Month. The sessions are open to anyone who registers. (To register, visit They have some pretty serious panelists, including Eleanor Clift and Marie Wilson. Check it out.

Join the Conversation

  • Shawn

    I’ll agree. But I think this country has been ready for a female president for quite some time. I do not believe, however, that a figure as polarizing as Hillary Clinton could win.
    I personally always had great respect for Hillary until the whole Lewinsky scandal blew up. I lost respect for her after that. Why stay married to a husband that obvioulsy has such little respect for you that he would have multiple affairs? The only answer I could come up with was it is in her best interests politically and in no other way. That personally caused me to question her strength of character. Does she feel that without her husband she doesn’t have the character to stand on? It’s sad, really. I think she is a bright, articulate and intelligent person. Even charming when she wants to be.

  • Abigail

    I agree. Ready for a women President yes, but Hillary no. Boxer maybe? Personally I’d love an Obamba/Boxer 2008 ticket.

  • Shawn

    I get the feeling Condi Rice will end up somewhere on the Republican ticket in 2008. She is very popular within the party.

  • Sarah

    I agree with what the other members here are saying, while I agree that the country seems ready for a female president, but that that won’t be Hillary, as much as I would love her to be. She’s too much of a polarising figure, as Shawn mentioned.
    Though I am SO with Abigail on Obama/Boxer! (I live in Chicago, Obama is a god here!)
    But, that gets me thinking, what do you think we would see first, a non-white male president, or a female president (presumably white)?

  • Shawn

    Might as well toss Jewish president in there, too.
    That’s a very good question, Sarah. If I had to bet, I would place my money on a non-white male president. I come this conclusion because I think Colin Powell was capable of winning the presidency and Obama, I feel, has a very good shot.
    The situation the Dems are in heading into the 2008 election is, in my opinion, where the Reps were heading into 2000. They have a rising star candidate while the Republicans’ list of potential candidates is growing old and stale. Now, the question is, can the country overcome racial lines and vote for a non-white male?

  • Amanda

    I just want to know how it is that 1 in 5 people eliminate the possibility of voting for a woman outright. How do they explain this to themselves? Even some of the appalling sexists that were trolling this blog would be hard-pressed to say that they wouldn’t vote for a woman at all. I mean, they probably wouldn’t, but I doubt they’d admit it outright.

  • Shawn

    Even me, an evil troll (I’m not sexist), would vote for a woman if she reflected my values or I considered her to be the best candidate.
    Keep in mind, though, that’s 1-in-5 people, not just men. I think you would be surprised by the number of women that would automatically rule out voting for a woman.
    Just out of curiosity, what is the feminist opinion of Condi Rice? Like her? Dislike her? Why?

  • Thomas

    I dislike Condi, but for reasons that have nothing to do with sex:
    — Condi’s view of her NSA role was to execute the President’s directives and coordinate the information he thought he needed. She seemed to think that it was not her job to affirmatively get information she wanted and make the President pay attention to it. That’s the wrong view of the job, IMO.
    — I think the recent Clarke docs back his story, which she directly contradicted under oath.
    — I think her explanation that the 8/6 PDB was not a warning was farcical, and an insult to all our intelligence.
    — Finally, she is one of Bush’s oldest and closest advisors, and I credit her with his view of foreign policy.
    (I don’t want to debate foreign policy here, because it would hijack the discussion.)
    So, as a feminist, how do I deal with women in powerful positions that I don’t like or don’t agree with?
    Easy. I’m really happy that both parties have found a woman qualified to be Secretary of State. It shows progress in what this nation’s political populace believe women can do. It helps get that one-in-five Amanda mentioned down. But I call ‘em like I see ‘em. If I disagree with what they do, I say so.
    This marks my feminism as clearly of the Liberal Feminist school (which is an accurate label): A woman shouldn’t have any advantage or disadvantage on account of sex in getting or keeping a job. As long as there are forces in society that want to stand in a woman’s way because she’s a woman, I will oppose those forces. And if I have any socialized bias that would make me judge someone more (or less) harshly on account of sex, I try to fix it.

  • Amanda

    Feminism doesn’t oblige me to like her just for being a woman. I think she’s a nightmare, frankly. And I hope that the Republicans don’t run her, though I’m sure they won’t. The hard core racists and sexists in the party will stay home in droves if she runs for President. And then the common wisdom will become, “Women can’t win, so don’t run them.”

  • PseudoAdrienne

    I would vote for a Obama/Boxer ticket in ’08. And I wouldn’t vote for a woman simply because she’s a woman. Her values and positions on issues that are important to me would have to match. I wouldn’t vote for Condi Rice due to her past actions and policies, and all too close ties with Bush. And the Republicans won’t nominate her anyway, because that party isn’t ready for a woman, especially not an African-American woman to run for them.

  • Kevin

    I think the US as a whole is ready for a female president, but I do have doubts about the political aristocracy. Ugly, ugly things were said about Clinton when her husband was elected, and most of it had nothing to do with her policy positions. That was just a few years ago… and I’m not sure things have changed much.

  • Shawn

    To those who commented on Condi:
    I agree that Condi, if she runs, has no chance of winning the nomination. She is well-liked throughout the party and has some powerful ties, but I don’t see her winning the nomination. I think sexism would come into play more than racism. The religious right makes me sick (I’m a Republican)with their views toward women. I also think it would be a mistake to put her on the ticket as the VP. I think, as opposed to Edwards, she brings substance but not much flair. It would hurt the ticket in the south, for sure, but it wouldn’t be worth trying to win the uninformed female vote.
    As far as race is concerned, I think the party gets a bum rap. Go hang out at a union hall some day (I am a union member) when there’s no minorities around and listen to how they speak. It’s sickening. Racism is something that crosses over party lines rather extensively. In my opinion, the democrats have done an incredible job of painting republicans as racist bigots when its party has a former Klan member (there’s no such thing as “former” klan member) amongst its ranks of congressman.
    Sorry, I got a little off topic there.
    Basically, I just hope we have better candidates to choose from in 2008, regardless of sex or skin tone. I have yet to not vote for the lesser of two evils when it comes to presidential elections.

  • C-Bird

    Okay, so maybe I am just being really negative, but does that mean one out of every five people polled wouldn’t vote for a woman *just because it is a woman*? Not that the results aren’t hopeful…

  • C-Bird

    Oh, I guess Amanda already pointed that out…

  • Amanda

    Don’t believe the hype, Shawn. Byrd was a Klan member in his youth and has apologized, tossed mea culpas to the wind, and actively worked to make amends. Both parties have racists in them, but only one party was willing to take an anti-racist stance, pass a civil rights bill and watch all the racists leave the party for their efforts. And the other party was all too willing to scoop up those racists. And before you say that was a long time ago as well, remember that they are still voting in Trent Lott.
    The people who kept getting Lott, Thurmond, and Helms elected will not vote for Condi Rice. They won’t vote for a Democrat, either. My guess is they will stay at home.

  • Shawn

    All good points. But I have trouble believing somone can so racist as to be a member of the Klan and then suddenly be cured (Byrd). Also, let’s not limit racism to white men. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are favorites of the Democratic party. I know we’re blind to what some people call “reverse racism,” but if an Asian, native American or white person said the things about African Americans that Jackson and Sharpton get away with saying about whites, they would be nailed to a cross in the political arena. Yet, Jackson (poverty pimp) and Sharpton (blatant racist) are rather held up as heroes for having the courage to speak their minds. In other words, the door needs to swing both ways.
    I personally don’t care what age, race or sex you are, I say let’s all be judged on our merits, abilities and sense of personal accountability. Judging a person on something as superficial as age, race or sex is just sad to me.

  • Indy

    I think that there is a strong chance that Rice will run and likely be nominated in ’08 or ’12.
    Sure, there are some old conservatives and southern democrats turned republican that will balk
    at this based on sex and race. But the neocons love to appoint qualified members of underrepresented groups.
    As much as social conservatives will whine and moan anytime a progressive “plays the race card”
    there is a trend of reversing this. Take the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales. In some (talking head show) dialogs a legitimate concern about Gonzales’s dismal human rights views was often countered with “You just don’t like him because he’s Latino! I though you were a liberal! Bad liberal! No biscut!”.
    Of course this kind of thing drives me nuts. It’s yet another cheaping of the public discourse of race.
    But this trick would work fine with Rice. Progressive: “Rice has a terrible record on war, diplomacy, and failing to be accountable”; Conservative Talking Head: “You just don’t like her because….”
    Also, I bet that a huge block of swing voters that typically ignore policy would love to vote for Rice. I’m not sure if I could resist it myself. Especially if she runs against another Gore/Kerry clone.