Most Americans feel positive about record number of women in Congress — CBS News poll

Former refugee candidates make history

By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto

There will be a record number of women in the 116th Congress, and 67 percent of Americans feel positive about that, including about 4 in 10 who are excited about it.  Most of the women who will join Congress in January are Democrats, and the poll finds Democrats are especially enthusiastic about more women in Congress.

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Far more Americans say things in Congress will work better, not worse, with the addition of more women in its ranks. More diversity of people in politics is the top choice (46 percent) as the reason why things will work better, followed by women being better at negotiating (26 percent), and women raising issues you care about (21 percent).

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Views on women in Congress divide more along partisan lines than gender. Democratic women (71 percent) are far more likely than Republican women (71 percent) to be excited about more women members and to think Congress will work better. 

The number of Republican women in the House will actually decrease next year, but just 20 percent of Republicans think their party should make more effort to recruit women candidates. More than half of Republicans say this issue doesn't matter much to them, and another quarter say the party is already making efforts to recruit women. Republican women and Republican men hold similar views with roughly half of each saying this issue doesn't matter that much to them.  

Overall, Democrats (46 percent) are actually more likely than Republicans (20 percent) to say the GOP should do more to recruit women candidates.

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In the wake of the Democrats winning control of the House, positive views of the party have risen. Forty-nine percent of Americans now have a favorable view of the Democratic party, a jump of 11 points since before the election, and the party's highest favorable rating since late 2012, shortly after Barack Obama was reelected. This spike in favorability is largely among Democrats. Ninety-one percent of Democrats have a favorable view of their party, up from 75 percent in October. Independents' views have also grown more positive too.

Opinions of the Republican party are mostly unchanged from before the election.


This poll was conducted by telephone November 15-18, 2018 among a random sample of 1,103 adults nationwide.  Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cellphones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. 

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. 

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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