Women Ruled Primary Night?

June 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

This morning the Wall Street Journal and Daily Beast are heralding the success of women in the primary elections, but are women really succeeding when women only hold 90 of the 535 seats in the 111th U.S. Congress?  It seems that women still have a long way to go.

Ninety seats represents only 16.8% of Congress.  Even if all the women congratulated for their strong primary results yesterday actually win, the number of female Congresswomen will not grow substantially.

What is true is that women are dissatisfied and distrust the House and Senate.  Their attitude towards the recent health care reform debate clarified that.  In a recent poll, only 7% of Moms thought the U.S. Congress was representing them in the national debate over healthcare.  And now jobs and the economy are top of mind because women continue to see and feel the effects of the recession.  Women have been more pessimistic about the fact that the recession is not over.

So when women show success at the polls, are they being supported because they represent women’s interests or are they considered as representatives of outsider interests?  The two headliners in yesterday’s election were Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, two powerful ex-CEOs.  Carly Fiorina will be running against the  U.S. Senate Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer, and Meg Whitman will face the  ever charming career politician and past governor Jerry Brown. Whitman and Fiorina seem to represent the outsider vote for more business-like leadership.   Interestingly though, California leads in the female factor,  having elected more women (a total of 32) to Congress than any state in the union.

I think the vote is still out on whether women are gaining in the Congress.  November will surely be the real test.  But one thing is certain.  The public is mad and half of that public are female voters.   Only 27 percent believe Congress knows what it’s doing when it comes to the economy according to the new ABC Frustation Index which is at a 16-year high.  The U.S. Congress  has a brand problem.  Awareness is high but negative sentiments far outweigh positive support – a really bad position for the brand.

It seems that both candidates and incumbents should represent The Lipstick Economy, the women who vote everyday with their pocketbook on whether the recession is over or not.

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