Study: Voters want equal pay and family leave, might even vote for lawmakers who do too

"Long gone are the days of men bringing home the bacon while women fry it up in the pan," a poll sponsor said

Published October 2, 2014 8:50PM (EDT)

Kirsten Gillibrand          (Jeff Malet,
Kirsten Gillibrand (Jeff Malet,

The people want paid family leave. They want affordable child care. They want fair, equal wages for women -- and they might even go vote for lawmakers who support all of these things.

According to the Huffington Post, a new Lake Research Partners poll commissioned by the Make It Work campaign found that 76 percent of surveyed registered voters favor the campaign's efforts to implement fair pay for minimum wage earners -- who are disproportionately women -- as well as more flexible family leave policies. Researchers found that a majority of respondents disagreed with the assertion that "men and women these days are generally paid equally for doing the same work," and 80 percent said it's the government's responsibility to guarantee fair treatment for workers, regardless of income level or gender.

What's more, two-thirds of respondents said they care enough about these issues to go out and vote for them. That could be hugely important for Democrats, who are currently engaged in a massive push to get women -- who are more likely to align with fair pay and family leave policies, but also less likely to vote in non-presidential elections -- to the polls. Along with women, young people and minority groups tended to be more inclined to support candidates who pledged to raise the minimum wage, secure equal pay and enact affordable child care and paid family leave.

"We believe these pocketbook issues will motivate women to get out to the polls," Brittany Stalsburg, senior analyst for Lake Research Partners, told HuffPost.

The partisan divide on these issues is stark: while Democrats push the agenda that "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds," Republicans fail to address the gender wage gap and have called women who care about family leave policies "whiners." (They also try to speak to women about politics in terms they can understand, mostly involving wedding dresses and dating, so that might not help either.) That won't go over well with voters according to Vivien Labaton, co-executive director of the Make It Work campaign -- perhaps because women not only have jobs, but also brains, which they know how to use.

They also have the right to vote; Labaton and her colleagues just hope women will do so this year, in favor of the policies they say matter most to them and their families. After all, times are different -- but it still takes some votes to change things for real.

"Long gone are the days of men bringing home the bacon while women fry it up in the pan," Labaton said.





By Jenny Kutner

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