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Think you know who is electable?

New research from BSG for the Gender on the Ballot initiative reveals what voters think makes a candidate “electable”.


The “electability” question has been a popular topic in recent months, often linked with “likeability” and occasionally measured in hypothetical beers. For the 2020 pundit class, electability seems to be just another gendered code word.


Our new research shows that likely 2020 voters are hearing the media’s sexism – and largely ignoring it. An overwhelming majority of voters reject the idea that America isn’t ready to elect a female president.


Voters may be looking for “electable” candidates – but not in the way the media defines electability. When we asked voters what made them feel a candidate could win, the top answers included:


  • A deep understanding of the challenges Americans face

  • A strong debate performance

  • Many well-thought out policies

When trying to identify who can win, they’re not looking for a drinking buddy any more than they’re paying attention to fundraising totals.


Maybe it’s because of the record-breaking number of women candidates who won in 2018, Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote in 2016, the many men who lost every presidential election before that, or the diverse 2020 Democratic field – but voters seem to be taking a broader view of electability than conventional wisdom suggests.


See full findings here.

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