Americans are Ready to See a Woman in the White House; Less Prepared 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; women are more likely to say it doesn’t matter

10:00 AM EST Mar 1, 2016 Rating
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Americans are Ready to See a Woman in the White House; Less Prepared to See a Woman Coaching a Male Sports Team

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The United States may 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 are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online from October 14-19, 2015.

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…

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:

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.

 

TABLE 1a

MORE LIKELY TO TRUST A MAN OR A WOMAN (OR EITHER) IN 15 LEADERSHIP ROLES
By Total & Gender

“Assuming the individual were otherwise qualified, would you be more likely to trust a man or a woman in each of the following leadership roles, or would you be equally likely to trust either a man or a woman?’”

Base:  U.S. Adults

 

Either

A Woman

A Man

Total

Men

Women

Total

Men

Women

Total

Men

Women

News anchor

%

87

81

93

6

9

4

7

10

4

Head of a research lab

%

86

81

90

5

7

4

9

12

6

Judge

%

85

79

90

7

10

4

8

11

6

President or dean of a college or university

%

85

80

89

6

9

4

9

11

7

Chief of medicine at a hospital

%

85

81

88

5

7

4

10

12

8

Top exec at a not-for-profit or charitable org.

%

84

79

88

10

11

8

7

10

4

Top exec at a large for-profit company or corp.

%

83

77

88

8

9

6

10

14

6

Principal of a primary or elementary school

%

82

76

88

10

14

7

7

10

5

President of The United States

%

73

67

78

5

5

4

23

28

18

Leader of a religious congregation

%

73

70

75

4

6

3

23

24

23

Military officer

%

68

60

75

4

5

3

28

35

22

Coach for a professional women's sports team

%

56

53

59

39

41

37

5

6

4

Coach for a girls'/women's sports team at a school

%

51

48

53

45

45

45

4

7

2

Coach for a professional men's sports team

%

47

42

50

3

5

2

50

52

48

Coach for a boys'/men's sports team at a school

%

46

42

50

5

8

2

49

50

48

Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.


TABLE 1b

MORE LIKELY TO TRUST A MAN OR A WOMAN (OR EITHER) IN 15 LEADERSHIP ROLES

By Total & Age

 “Assuming the individual were otherwise qualified, would you be more likely to trust a man or a woman in each of the following leadership roles, or would you be equally likely to trust either a man or a woman?’”

Base:  U.S. Adults

 

Total

Age

18-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

News anchor

%

Either

87

77

84

95

92

93

%

A Woman

6

13

9

2

3

1

%

A Man

7

10

7

3

5

6

Head of a research lab

%

Either

86

74

84

93

93

93

%

A Woman

5

10

7

3

2

2

%

A Man

9

15

9

4

5

5

Judge

%

Either

85

77

81

91

90

90

%

A Woman

7

13

11

3

4

2

%

A Man

8

10

8

6

7

8

President or dean of a college or university

%

Either

85

77

81

91

91

91

%

A Woman

6

12

9

2

3

2

%

A Man

9

11

10

7

6

7

Chief of medicine at a hospital

%

Either

85

80

83

89

89

86

%

A Woman

5

10

8

3

2

2

%

A Man

10

11

9

8

9

12

Top exec at a not-for-profit or charitable org.

%

Either

84

72

80

90

90

92

%

A Woman

10

17

11

6

6

5

%

A Man

7

11

9

3

4

3

Top exec at a large for-profit company or corp.

%

Either

83

73

78

91

89

88

%

A Woman

8

14

8

4

4

4

%

A Man

10

13

14

5

7

8

Principal of a primary or elementary school

%

Either

82

71

78

89

90

91

%

A Woman

10

17

15

5

5

5

%

A Man

7

12

7

6

6

4

President of The United States

%

Either

73

69

73

76

78

70

%

A Woman

5

8

7

1

3

1

%

A Man

23

24

20

23

19

28

Leader of a religious congregation

%

Either

73

72

71

75

73

72

%

A Woman

4

7

8

2

2

1

%

A Man

23

21

20

23

25

27

Military officer

%

Either

68

64

67

71

68

70

%

A Woman

4

6

6

2

3

1

%

A Man

28

29

27

27

29

29

Coach for a professional women's sports team

%

Either

56

54

57

60

57

56

%

A Woman

39

38

38

34

42

42

%

A Man

5

8

6

6

1

2

Coach for a girls'/women's sports team at a school

%

Either

51

49

54

56

51

44

%

A Woman

45

41

41

41

48

54

%

A Man

4

10

4

2

1

2

Coach for a professional men's sports team

%

Either

47

46

49

47

46

46

%

A Woman

3

7

6

1

1

1

%

A Man

50

47

45

52

53

54

Coach for a boys'/men's sports team at a school

%

Either

46

47

51

51

45

40

%

A Woman

5

11

7

1

2

*

%

A Man

49

42

42

49

53

60

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; * indicates fewer than 0.5% selected this. 

 

TABLE 2a

EQUALITY STATEMENTS – Summary Grid

“How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?”

Base: U.S. Adults

 

 

Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Some leadership roles are more appropriate for men than for women.

%

61

18

43

39

21

18

Some leadership roles are more appropriate for women than for men.

%

61

18

43

39

21

18

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

 

 

TABLE 2b

EQUALITY STATEMENTS – “Agree” (NET)

By Age & Gender

“How much do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Age

Gender

18-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Some leadership roles are more appropriate for men than for women.

61

60

59

59

60

66

68

54

Some leadership roles are more appropriate for women than for men.

61

59

58

60

63

64

66

56

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

 

 

Methodology 

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 19 and 21, 2016 among 2,057 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #16, March 1, 2016

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll 

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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