American women look for candidates to be honest with them. When asked which traits they feel are most important in an ideal political candidate, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) said “honesty” was what mattered most. It was a clear lead characteristic, followed by “consistent track record” (following through with that they say) (42 percent) and “that their values align with mine” (23 percent).
Women of all backgrounds felt this way, but the group that had the strongest emphasis on honesty were African-American women (70 percent). More black women also ranked women’s rights in their top three issues that are most important to them (57 percent, versus 39 percent of all women surveyed). As was shown in Alabama’s special election, politicians need to pay attention to black women as they can and will make all the difference.
Honesty is in the eye of the beholder. Sixty-five percent of Republican women said honesty was one of the most important traits an ideal candidate should possess (higher than Democrats’ 63 percent and lower than Independents’ 70 percent). When asked to rate Donald J. Trump’s first year in office, just nine percent of Republican women gave him an “F,” whereas 60 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Independents did so. When women support a candidate, their perception of who they are as a person fits what they would like to see.