May 5th, 2008
10:47 AM ET

What women want

Program Note: Watch Randi’s report on “what women want” tonight on 360° 10p ET

Randi Kaye
360° Correspondent

Hillary Clinton is selling buttons on her website that say “I’m your Girl!”

Over the weekend she held a town hall meeting with working moms.

Do you think she’s going after the women’s vote? Of course she is. So is Barack Obama.

It’s estimate 9 million more women than men will enter a voting booth this election so women could really end up determining our next president.

Right now, Obama is ahead in the polls, CNN shows, among women nationwide though Clinton has the edge with white women.

I just spent some time with a group of women in Indiana to try and understand what women want in a candidate. We had a good mix. Sally Zweig is a 56-year-old lawyer and single mom. Dawn Yingling is also a single mom who's son just had to drop out of college because she couldn't pay the bills. Stephanie Spirer is a 26-year-old lawyer who knows all about student debt. Nicole Schoville is a pilates instructor who is married. And Keshauna Castro is 30-year-old single pharmacy technician. Nicole was the only undecided voter. The rest were split between Obama and Clinton.

Turns out, women really differ from men in the kinds of issues we look at. As one political expert put it, “our feet are all facing the same direction, but we move at a different pace than the boys.”

What do women want? Ha! Men have been trying to figure that out for ages, but here’s what they want in a candidate. Not every woman, of course, but many women.

Women want proof positive their candidate is going to deliver. We like specifics and solutions, which is why women tend to wait much longer than men to pick a candidate.

Nicole Schoville, a pilates instructor in Indianapolis who works two jobs, is still undecided! Like many women, she worries about affordability and security. Those are the two common themes among women voters nationwide. Nicole works two jobs and she still can’t afford healthcare. She told me, “Do we stand a chance of losing our house because we can't afford our hospitals bills. These are real issues for us. I'm just looking for a candidate that I can feel confident in and stabilize things in my home and my economic future.I want security.”

In general, women want a candidate who will deliver on the economy, education, and healthcare. Someone who "gets it' and proves to them he or she understands their daily struggles.

I’ve discovered women also care more about issues that hit close to home. These are issues the experts call “survival issues,” like the rising cost of gasoline and groceries. Women tend to focus less on issues like tax cuts. As one Indiana single mom said to me, “we run the household, we fill up the gas tank, we buy the groceries. I want to think about the whole world but day to day I'm thinking about what's happening in my house and if I can pay my electric bill.”

I also found women really tend to choose candidates they can identify with. A young lawyer I met, Stephanie Spirer, told me she is voting for Obama because like him she was saddled with student debt. He just paid his off a few years ago. Spirer said, “I know how much it costs to go to college. The debts students accumulate right now is astronomical.”

No doubt the candidates have figured out what women want.. question is which candidates message will resonate best and possibly propel them to victory. What do you think?

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Randi Kaye • Raw Politics
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Amber

    I can tell you what this woman wants. A better economy. Like the one woman in your interview said–I do care about things globally but I think locally first.
    In terms of honest, well it's all relative isn't it? Obama hasn't been completely honest either. Obama voted for the gas tax holiday in Illinois- yep he did.
    Obama didn't vote for the war in Iraq because he wasn't in a position to vote! Wasn't in the senate then.
    Assording to Michael Moore on Larry King Obama and Clinton are both 1&2 in healthcare lobbyists.
    Gas Tax holiday- I want it. If enough people want it Congress can do something about it. I"m thinking beyond my $70 savings. I'm thinking of the truck drivers and the farmers. The price of a gallon of MILK. When it costs more to get goods to market....the goods at the market go up.

    May 6, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  2. Claudia

    This woman wants peace and prosperity. A world where children are not hungry, living in poverty and not ravaged by war. We are out of balance with nature and the master plan and until we all recognize this we will not achieve our goals.

    May 6, 2008 at 9:54 am |
  3. Annie

    l love the healthy relationship between Obama and his family. He sure does know how to treat a woman with respect. He is the dream president that America needs.

    May 6, 2008 at 6:49 am |
  4. Shannon

    Hillary all the way. She's a brilliant and insightful woman. I don't buy the argument that these certain people really want to see a woman candidate but just don't know if it should be Hillary. Please, that's a lame excuse. She is the closest women have even come to the presidency.

    But I'm voting for her not only because she's a woman, if you've heard her speak, you recognize how knowledgeable, intelligent, caring, and real she is.

    I support her all the way.

    May 6, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  5. Patricia Kohlmeier

    This 51 year old woman is getting really tired of hearing how all the women of a certain age are for Hillary. I am a moderate who was leaning towards Hillary at first, but am now solidly behind Obama. I have found myself becoming more and more "anti-Hillary" which surprised me. It finally dawned on me why. After 8 years of George W. Bush's divisive, combative politics, revolting smirk, ever changing justification for the invasion of Iraq, and moving target goals for success in Iraq, it occurred to me that Hillary is merely a Democratic version of President Bush. We do not need another lightening rod in the White House. We need a president who will calm and unite the country and work in a bipartisan manner for solutions to the very real problems faced by our country. Pat in California

    May 6, 2008 at 12:11 am |
  6. Sonali

    Senator Clinton is the most brilliant and thorough candidate of the three. She is tough and extremely hard working. He keeps complaining about how long the campaign is going on. He vilify's clinton every single day attacking her motives instead of discussing the policy. I have no respect for him. It is not about gender, it is about competancy and Obama has not demonstrated it.

    May 6, 2008 at 12:04 am |
  7. Linda

    Obama...will talk it to death

    while Hillary rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done

    yep, that about sums up what THIS woman wants

    May 6, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  8. Tanya

    In my opinion I think women want someone that is honest with them. Women have the ability to endure all. As of late Hilary seems to me more male than female. She reminds me of her husband and that's not good for the simple fact that we need to go forward with new politics, not back to the 90's. She says we (as in her and Bill) way to much for me to be comfortable.

    May 5, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  9. Kia

    I agree....In the beginning I was planning on supporting Hilary because I have always loved her strong leadership and take charge attitude, now its different. As a young a new voter(21) this will be my first election. In the past, I watched young people vote for an actor in my home state (California) and I watched the country vote for a canidate who was thought to have "moral values" which in turn became sticky for americans with our economy and the war. I wish I could vote for her, but her model of a woman in a America for lack of a better word just sucks and is not the what I want others to see and think this is what an american woman in power does....first we have a speaker of the house that doesnt talk enough....and now we have a canidate that talks too much. I just dont like the malice in her heart and words and to me she just comes off as a evil woman.....sorry

    May 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Ellen Trumpler

    As a 53-year old woman, I want leadership that inspires - and engages me. That is why I became involved in the Obama campaign. I have seen for myself pPeople coming together as never before. From the "bottom up".

    It doesn't matter to me that Obama is a male candidate - that he has a respectful relationship with his wife is obvious. He would never engage in such behavior as the Clintons have, the affairs, the scandals, the outrageous remarks...I could go on and on...but the underlying consistency in his campaign, his relationships, his approach to foreign diplomacy - it is all quite harmonious and appealing to me. I have found what I am looking for - and his grassroots campaign. O=one hope, one america, only goodness.

    May 5, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  11. Christine

    First, please Megan from Canada unless you were born in American and are still American your vote does not matter.

    I am a white woman who doesn't believe a word out of Obama's mouth. He can not change anything beacuse he has not proven himself a leader.

    I want a president who has the back bone to push for and get the things America needs done. Hillary can. Obama can't.

    May 5, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  12. Jane, Detroit, MI

    What do women want?...MEN! And Barack Obama is tall, dark, and handsome. Obama has peruaded millions of women to join the cause, and Michelle stengthens his role in sensitivity to women's issues. Hillary has a cheating spouse, what message does that send to women? Obama-Girls Unite!

    May 5, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  13. Karen, Silicon Valley CA

    This woman's for Obama.

    From what I've seen his family values, spiritual and moral values and political values very clearly align with mine.

    Obama has run a clean and positive campaign. He's had so many opportunities to discredit Hillary, yet each time he's given the opportunity he's taken the high road. This behavior is the behavior I expect out of the leader of the greatest free country on this planet.

    Hillary's statement that she'd 'obliterate Iran' was so reprehensible to me that I'm clear she's not who I want representing me or my country.

    This woman would love to have a woman President presiding over her country. She just doesn't want it to be the current choice.


    May 5, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  14. Mari, Salt Lake City

    I will tell you why this 50-something-wife-mother-grandmother-Latina-Catholic and registered Independent is supporting Sen. Obama because regardless of some flaws, NO ONE is perfect, he is the most honest. AND he has tried to rise above the hate-fear-destructive politics!

    When McCain & Hillary suggested the tax on gas break, Sen. Obama stood alone and said it would hardly help AND would take jobs away from those who LIVE IN SMALL TOWNS who earn their living in constructing and repairing our roads and infrastructure. That's HONEST and BRAVE to tell the truth even though some wont like it!

    I am supporting Sen. Obama because I will NOT VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO VOTED FOR THE IRAQ WAR! We are nearly bankrupt, we have lost thousands of soldiers and I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!


    May 5, 2008 at 7:57 pm |
  15. Jane, NC

    There is one other thing that "most" women want: voters free of gender bias and a news media that recognizes and avoids gender bias in its reporting. "Most" women also want the news media to pay as much attention to the subject of gender bias in their news shows as they pay to racial bias. And they want gender bias to be just as unacceptable as racial bias. So far, in the reporting surrounding this campaign, such is not the case.

    May 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  16. Mal

    Women need to vote for what is important not just because clinton is a woman.

    May 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm |
  17. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    What this woman wants is for all this nonsensical whiney baby my candidate is better than yours BS to end. I want someone to make these candidates focus on real issues (because I really wonder if either of them can on the Democratic side). I want intelligent conversations about actual solutions to problems this country is facing instead of the insulting fluff we've been getting. I want the Democrats to make up their minds (how hard is to pick a presidential candidate when the potentials are mediocre at best in the first place?). Finally, I want John McCain in the White House for the next four years because Congress scares me right now (they have proven beyond a doubt that the Dems are ineffective), I don't want a liberal Supreme Court that doesn't look at the law (what we'll have if Obama gets to appoint anyone), and I do want a leader who says what he means, means what he says, and isn't afraid to play with the big boys to win no matter what it takes within reason (because he's paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country and the other two have simply milked its benefits throughout their lives).

    May 5, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Gene

    If women can communicate what they want, then they should be able to look at the candidate’s views on that subject matter and look more global and see where the candidates are on those issues and then make a informed decision.

    But you see what women really do is call all their friends and have coffee or wine over any decision and they get their decisions all confused because they just spoke with other women who have no opinion or view point and can’t even agree why the hell their talking about it and discover what Sherry want has not to do with what Nancy wants. They all go home after the buzz and decide that they are more confused then ever!
    That’s because their emotional, no it’s because they don’t trust themselves and they feel if they make a mistake… well wake up ladies!
    Everyone makes mistakes dam Bush got in 2 times how the hell did that happen?? Da! A lot of people made real BAD mistakes.
    Look, grow up make an educated decision and go for it. If we had all the answers we wouldn’t have to work, because we would have known the lottery numbers!

    May 5, 2008 at 6:46 pm |
  19. Ratna, New York, NY

    Hi Randi,

    Great for me to read how you do all that snowballing of the target population. Eventhough, I am a woman myself, I don't understand myself what women want. Unlike men – who are hierarchal oriented, women psychologically are more focused on integrating in their immediate environment. I think that the line "I am your girl" would appeal more to male then female voters.

    May 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  20. Candace Richerson, Oklahoma City

    As a 53 year-old, white woman living in the red state of Oklahoma, I realize my support of Barack Obama puts me out of the normal demographic. However, I am honored and proud to stand up and show my support for the first candidate in 25 or so years that I can trust. If women support people they can relate to, then every woman who values honesty, character, intelligence, and an even-tempered man who responds to conflicts rather than reacts to them, should have no problem supporting Barack Obama. I am sick of the lies, sick of the political ploys and most of all I am sick of the media focusing on gossip and innuendo rather than the issues that plague our country. We need real change in Washington not more deception.

    May 5, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  21. Kent, Illinois

    This is why Hillary has rallied behind this gas tax holiday. She is trying to deceive these women who worry about these "survival issues" like gasoline. She has no power to bring about this "holiday", and furthermore it is a farce.

    I live in Illinois. We tried it as Obama stated. It didn't work. We saw no real relief at the pump. Hillary is treating these people like they are dummies and they need to see it for what it is.............pandering.

    May 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  22. 4mygirl

    Hillary is the best candidate to beat John McCain in the Fall – and the best candidate to become President. I have waited all my life for this. You go girl, and get em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  23. Annie Kate


    Women like specifics and solutions – that's a good summary of what I look for in a nutshell. I hear that with Clinton; I don't with Obama. Hillary seems to have a 12 point plan for every issue – plans that sound well thought out and that not only accomplish their objective but accomplishes it in a way that isn't detrimental to another goal – like dealing with global warming, the war in the Middle East, and our foreign relations with other countries.

    I particularly like the fact that Clinton's heath care plan includes everyone in the family – not just the children. It doesn't do much good to only insure the children if the working parent in the household has medical problems that could cause them not to be able to work if they aren't treated. Being disabled with a chronic condition brings that issue home to me in a very personal way and Hillary's message on this seems like a lifeline.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  24. Kathy, Andover

    This woman WANTS Obama as President!

    May 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  25. Kel from Auburn, AL

    Well, first of all I'm a man. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. lIke most men, however; try as I might, I have no idea what women want.

    I think the fact that Obama's support among women is higher nationwide than Clinton's speaks toward the appeal of these candidates. Allow me to explain:

    Being a woman candidate is what makes Hillary unique. Being a black candidate is what makes Obama unique. Because of this, one would rightfully expect that Obama's support among black voters is huge, and Hillary's support among women voters is huge. You telling me that's not the case (and I believe you) tells me something about the loyalty of Hillary's core constituency.

    I know at least a handful of women who do not think Hillary should be president. I know very few African Americans who think Barack should not be president.

    I think that you can look at the loyalty of the American people to a candidate by comparing the loyalty level of their strongest supporters to what they should be.

    Maybe that will make a difference come Tuesday. Time will tell.

    May 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  26. Deanah Reddick

    I don't have anything again Hillary. I would like for someone to tell me
    what experince do Hillary has in the White House. Please don;t say because she were in the White House with Bill? That is not good enough.

    She didn't have control over her husband in the White House, so how can she control a Nation? Ladies think about what you are doing before you vote for someone as your President? More than 70% of female is voting for Hillary because she is a woman and that is what I mean about going on emotion. Never had a female President so what?


    May 5, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  27. Turner


    I am sure Hillary will appreciate your free advertisement to Her website for those wishing to buy the 'Girl' pins...

    Simply Amazing CNN, the Pro-Hillary Bias is something for you to be quite proud of.

    May 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  28. Lilibeth

    Hi Randi,

    I know for a fact that women want a candidate who listens and understands, but isn’t this what men want too?

    I think that ultimately men and women want the same things, but men look at the big picture and women pay more attention to the details.


    Edmonds, Washington

    May 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  29. Charlotte D


    Thank you for asking. I am a married woman with two grown daughters (unmarried) who remembers where I was when I heard that JFK had been assasinated, and I want a candidate where it doesn't matter if he or she is male or female, because they are concerned about the problems faced by either gender. No one group is marginalized or not considered to be in the target deomgraphic. I want someone who is smart and I mean a real smarty pants. Being smart and educated does not mean you are an elitist unless you use your education and intelligence as a means of making others think you are better than them. I want someone who knows the price of a half gallon of milk and how to read a label in the grocery store. I want someone who will go eye ball to eye ball with the Russians or the Iranians and not blink.

    Will there be that "perfect" candidate who will meet all my criterion? No, but I have decided who comes closest and who I hope to be hearing speak for the next 4 years. CA's primary is past, so the decision is in the hands of others now.

    Charlotte D, Stockton CA

    May 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  30. Betty Ann

    Hi Randi,
    I'll tell you what women want. We want better health care for our families.
    We want better economy for our kid's future.
    We want lower gas prices or alternative fuel options.
    We as the nuturing gender, want to heal our sick planet from toxic pollution and global warming.
    We want a president who can act quick and efficiently if we should have a disaster.
    Finally, what women want is peace on earth for all human beings.
    Therefore; this woman wants Hillary Clinton for President.
    Thanks Randi!

    Betty Ann

    May 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  31. rj

    I believe some women are voting for Hillary because she is a woman.

    May 5, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  32. Gobama!

    I want a candidate who's message speaks to my issues, and the issues of my country. We're all the same, if we don't let the media get in the way of progression towards unity.

    Both candidates pretty much support my concerns, but my problem with Hillary, is that she appears to say anything / do anything for a vote. Neither of the 3 candidates is perfect, and all 3 will make mistakes, but I'm looking for the one who seems to have the most integrity (between the Democratic candidates). For me, that's Barack Obama. If we could just close our eyes and pretend they both look exactly alike (take away the gender/skin color differences), the one who clearly speaks more of the truth is Obama. If we could just pretend there is no Rev Wright, and look at what he himself has said, and what he's proposing for the betterment of our country, we can see that he is the one who really cares.
    If we closed our eyes to hear: Hillary lying about Bosnia, changing her voice to a southern drawl when addressing southerners, telling us she's the underdog (when by far, this is totally untrue; Barack is only beating the underdog at this point), telling PA she's Rocky while taking shots and drinking beer, promising us that a gas tax holiday will save us money, when it will increase demand and drive prices higher, we would clearly hear the lies she's telling to get our votes..

    With all of this said, I will still vote for Hillary if she's the nominee in November. I just hope her supporters will do the same if it's Barack. We need to change direction, and we can't do it by letting McCain waltz into the White House because we're so divided, we've forgotten to keep our eye on the prize..

    May 5, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  33. marie c

    What do women want? They want the same things as men-a president who has real answers to solve the problems our country faces. Our country is in trouble, and there is one candidate who can save this country. Her name is HILLARY CLINTON. She is being truthful when she offers real solutions-not just talk!!!

    May 5, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  34. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Randi,
    I think women probably voted their own issues for years, it's just that now, every voter is put under a microscope and labeled.
    If the past is any reflection on what will happen this year, I'd say it will more than likely prove polls aren't gospel once again.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 5, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  35. thomas, michigan

    ...I think what women DON't want is 'a pill', if you will, and to use a
    time-worn term. And that's what Hillary behaves like. I think her
    knee-jerk style is completely wrong for the presidency, and that's to
    say nothing of her nastiness exacerbated by all those political
    scars, many self-inflicted.

    May 5, 2008 at 11:29 am |
  36. Tammy From New York

    Thats not the only thing my Sen. is selling. She's selling false hopes to people who really are looking for solutions. Its one thing to have good intensions but ot purpose gas tax holidays that most likely would not get signed by president Bush is a false hope. Sen. Clinton is running on her experience and she should have know that a gas tax holiday wouldn't be a good idea being that we have a president who has neglected the economy for 7 years. I think Hillary Clinton is pandering this idea to get votes and that's not what we need as a leader. We need a leader with real solutions and the judgement and character that ensures they will be executed. Hillary Clinton doesn't possess neither. To add fuel to fire she goes on to say she's not listening to experts and economist isn't that what George Bush has been doing for the last 7 years. Hillary Clinton possess this problem of her way or the highway for years now. This character of her is exactly why we don't have universial healthcare inwhich we could have had it years ago. Bob dole had a healthcare plan and the Sen. from Teneness had a healthcare plan as well but Hillary Clinton refused both plans because they weren't hers. It's the same characteristics she's displaying now that no economist or expert supports her gas tax plan and she refuse to listen to them. Obama is a better leader, understand the task head of us and has proven his leadership and I hope Indiana and North Carolina vote for Obama.

    May 5, 2008 at 11:23 am |
  37. Cathryn

    Being a woman in my 50's, I am taken aback almost every time I hear a speech by Hillary Clinton. This woman just bristles with intelligence, energy, and compassion! How could she be so easily dismissed because of her gender or race? Or by some vague promises from contenders that stumble over their words? America would loose a great deal of benefit if she is not our next president.

    May 5, 2008 at 11:20 am |
  38. Cindy

    I really think you hit the nail on the head! Women want someone that they can believe first and foremost and not have to wonder if they are just saying what we want to hear to get our votes.

    Secondly we want someone who we think will be the most qualified to get the economy back on track. Because let's face it, it is mostly the women who deal with the day to day runnings of the household and know how much these prices going up on th food, gas, etc is really effecting us.

    And last but not least we do want someone who we think can protect this country and keep us out of harms way yet has the gumption to take on any outsider who is deemed a risk. We can't be run over and let others think we will bow down to anyone, no matter what other countries think of us. Honestly I don't see that in the Dems.

    Looking forward to your report tonight.

    May 5, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  39. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    I am not against having a woman for President but in no way do I feel it should be Hillary Clinton. Some women may love her but this (white)woman doesn't. She does not speak to or for me or my values and if I was given the opportunity to vote for her, I never would. My person opinion but it is mine to have.

    May 5, 2008 at 10:53 am |