Active Voters More Ready for Woman as President than as Head Coach

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Americans are ready to see a female in the White House, but they are less prepared, however, to see a woman coaching a male sports team. Across a variety of leadership roles, men are more likely than women to pick a gender (any gender) as the best choice; and women are more likely to say it doesn’t matter. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online from October 14–19, 2015.

The United States might well see its first-​ever female Presidential nominee from a major party this year, and results from a recent Harris Poll show that Americans are ready to be offered that choice. That said, nearly one in four (23%) Americans say they’d be more likely to trust a man as President of the United States than a woman – which stands in stark contrast to the 5% saying they’d be more likely to trust a woman. But to a strong majority of U.S. adults it’s a non-​issue, with 73% saying they’d be equally likely to trust either a man or a woman as President.

These could be important considerations for any of you wanting to target Active Voters. According to AudienceSCAN data, 25.8% of U.S. adults are "Active Voters."

In fact, when looking across a broad spectrum of leadership roles, Americans simply don’t think it makes a difference when asked to choose which chromosome count produces the best leaders. It’s true that majorities feel some roles are more appropriate for one gender than another, but over eight in 10 adults say they’d be equally likely to trust a man or a woman as…

  • A news anchor (87%),
  • The head of a research lab (86%),
  • A judge (85%),
  • President/​Dean of a college or university (85%),
  • The chief of medicine at a hospital (85%),
  • The top executive at either a not-​for-​profit or charitable organization (84%) or at a large for-​profit company or corporation (83%), or
  • The principal of a primary or elementary school (82%).

These types of opinions are reflected in Active Voters' lifestyles. AudienceSCAN reports 11.5% of Active Voters are divorced, 27.6% have school-​aged children, 23.3% will give at least $100 to charity this year, and 22.9% want to volunteer for a cause or charity.

Strong majorities also feel men and women are equally deserving of trust as the leader of a religious congregation (73%) or as a military officer (68%). It’s only when the conversation turns to sports that Americans start parsing candidates by gender:

  • Just over half would trust men and women equally to coach either a professional women’s sports team (56%) or a female sports team at a school (51%), with most of those who pick one gender over the other seeing women as the logical choice (39% professional, 45% school).
  • Meanwhile, just under half would trust either a man or a woman equally to coach a male professional (47%) or scholastic (46%) sports team, with those choosing between the two overwhelmingly selecting a man (50% professional, 49% school).

AudienceSCAN found that 36.9% of Active Voters enjoy watching college football in person or on TV. (Just as long as a woman's not coaching it!) Connect sports with voting in your ads. 32.8% of Active Voters also love Olympic sports.

One finding which seems to hold true across most roles is that men are generally more likely to pick a gender – any gender. Men are more likely than women to say they’d lean toward trusting a man for the majority of roles tested – but they’re also more likely to choose a woman in most situations. Women, meanwhile, are consistently more likely to put their trust in both equally.

  • Further supporting this point, men are more likely than women to agree that some leadership roles are more appropriate for men than for women (68% men vs. 54% women) and that some are more appropriate for women than for men (66% vs. 56%, respectively).

Barbers can take these trust issues and run with them (with scissors!) AudienceSCAN found that 40.5% of Active Voters intend to purchase hair cuts at barber shops. Show barbers talking politics with customers in spots. And try showing men AND women as licensed barbers in spots!

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.