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Study Shows Sexist Comments Hurt Female Politicians

Looks like the cat's out of the bag: Campaign operatives already know this. That's why they like to use these comments in code; it's a good way to peel off votes without leaving obvious fingerprints. I know. I worked on a $15 million

Looks like the cat's out of the bag: Campaign operatives already know this. That's why they like to use these comments in code; it's a good way to peel off votes without leaving obvious fingerprints.

I know. I worked on a $15 million campaign, and I sat in on those kinds of strategy meetings with the same consultants Obama used. And if you think their campaign didn't deliberately use sexism against Hillary Clinton, you're naive.

By the way, I had the hardest time finding a video to post, because most of them included such vulgar language and imagery, I couldn't use them. I'd forgotten the sheer volume of sexist and sexual bile spewed at Clinton:

WASHINGTON — Calling a female candidate such sexist names as "ice queen" and "mean girl" significantly undercuts her political standing, a new study of voter attitudes finds, doing more harm than gender-neutral criticism based solely on her policy positions and actions.

Harder-edged attacks, such as referring to her as a prostitute, were equally damaging among voters, according to research commissioned by a non-partisan coalition of women's advocacy groups.

The survey said the advice often given to women — to ignore the attacks rather than risk giving them more attention or legitimacy — turns out to be wrong. In the study, responding directly helped the female candidate regain lost ground and cost her opponent support.

"I was stunned at the magnitude of the effect of even mild sexism," says Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who conducted the survey. "Right now campaigns tend to be silent and try to tough it out, and this really opens up a whole new strategy of responding."

The groups that sponsored the research are the Women's Media Center, the WCF Foundation and Political Parity. Thursday, they will announce a joint initiative called "Name It. Change It" designed to monitor and respond to sexism against female candidates in the media.

[...] Among the findings:

• The female candidate lost twice as much support when even the mild sexist language was added to the attack. Support for her initially measured at 43% fell to 33% after the policy-based attacks but to 21% after the sexist taunts. The drop was significant among both men and women, those under 50 and over 50, and those with college educations and without.

• The sexist language undermined favorable perceptions of the female candidate, leading voters to view her as less empathetic, trustworthy and effective.

Responding directly helped the women candidates' regain support. The rebound occurred both after a mild response — the female candidate calling the discussion "inappropriate" and "meritless" and turning back to issues — and after a more direct counterattack that decried "sexist, divisive rhetoric" as damaging to "our political debate and our democracy."

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