American Mothers are Primary Influence on Women's Political Behavior and Attitudes,Oxygen/Markle Pulse Finds | Markle | Advancing America's Future
American Mothers are Primary Influence on Women's Political Behavior and Attitudes,Oxygen/Markle Pulse Finds | Markle | Advancing America's Future

American Mothers are Primary Influence on Women’s Political Behavior and Attitudes,Oxygen/Markle Pulse Finds

Publication Date: June 13, 2000 | Back to Latest News

NEW YORK, NY—American women’s political behavior and attitudes are greatly influenced by their mothers’ activities and behavior, demonstrating the importance of role models in women’s political development, according to the results of an Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll released today.

In addition, the Oxygen/Markle Pulse survey on the political engagement of women found that women are solidly committed to voting, but are less likely to be strongly interested in politics, discuss politics or have confidence in their knowledge of politics than men. The results were announced today by Cheryl Mills, Oxygen’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Policy and Public Programming.

Said Cheryl Mills, “The opportunity for women—now and in the future—to have greater interest and confidence in, and awareness of, politics lies in the hands of women today. Women are not only deciding the outcome of elections, they serve as important role models for their daughters and other young women—they hold a key to expanding the way in which women value and experience politics. Women need to become conscious of the impact that their attitudes and actions can have on future generations of voters and politicians.”

She added, “Our generation has a tremendous opportunity and a responsibility to actively support the political development of our daughters and other young women. These are the next generation of women voters … and, just as importantly, leaders.”

A public/private partnership between Oxygen Media and the Markle Foundation, the Oxygen/Markle Pulse seeks to research and reveal what women think and believe. In this national election year, the first phase of the Oxygen/Markle Pulse‘s research spotlights women’s attitudes toward political involvement, participation in the political process, and social and political issues. Results may be found at

The Oxygen/Markle Pulse is complemented by Oxygen’s “Be Fearless With Your Vote” campaign, election 2000 programming to encourage women’s full engagement and participation in issues important to them in this election year.

Oxygen’s election 2000 programming began June 12th, with the first Oxygen Women’s Forum, when Vice President Gore spoke with 150 women and an on-line audience in Oxygen’s live, un-scripted, on-air and on-line town hall meeting. The 90-minute forum was broadcast on Oxygen, on NJN (the public television station in New Jersey), and on C-SPAN. It also was streamed live on and (A similar invitation has been extended to Governor George W. Bush.)

Said Cheryl Mills, “The Oxygen Women’s Forum is an example of the way in which women can publicly express and demonstrate their interest in politics and gain the information they seek about the issues—and the candidates—in this election.”

The latest Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll reveals that while most women saw their mothers voting, few had mothers who showed a strong interest in politics. In addition, women -more than men – believe that politics is a sensitive subject for discussion, to be discussed only with certain people in certain settings.

One implication of these combined findings—that mothers have tremendous political influence over their daughters, but are not as active as men in discussing politics and being confident in their knowledge of political issues—is that today’s women may inadvertently be perpetuating a generation of non-political women.

Other findings in the Oxygen/Markle Pulse poll include:

  • Women from families with politically vocal female role models are more politically aware than others; and
  • Women who had vocal mothers tend to discuss politics more frequently than others.

Said Mills, “The Oxygen/Markle Pulse is challenging long-held conventional wisdom about women and their political views. These results show us that women are great role models for future generations of female political leaders, voters and activists. Over the coming months, the Oxygen/Markle Pulse and ‘BeFearless With Your Vote’ will provide women with opportunities to increase their involvement with political issues.”

Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates conducted a nationally representative telephone survey of 1493 adult women and men and 755 teenage boys and girls between April 20th and May 10th, 2000. The sampling errors for adult women, men and teenagers are +/-3.1%, +/-4.4%, and +/-4.4%, respectively at 95% confidence level. The sampling error is higher for subgroups.

About the Oxygen/Markle Pulse

The Oxygen/Markle Pulse seeks to learn what women think and believe and to give voice to these findings through the media. The Pulse will comprehensively track and measure women’s opinions, attitudes, needs and values. The Pulse seeks to engage women in a dialogue to help shape the direction of the Pulse research and the Oxygen/Markle Pulse’s findings will inform and add depth to Oxygen’s online and television programming. Oxygen will create programming that is responsive to the findings uncovered through the research conducted by the Oxygen/Markle Pulse.

In this national election year, the first phase of the Oxygen/Markle Pulse’s research will spotlight women’s political and civic participation, women’s attitudes about political and social issues, and women’s leadership. Over the course of the year, the Oxygen/Markle Pulse will introduce new areas of study including: life balance, career/work, health and well-being, relationships, sexuality, education, technology, and the media. In addition, the Pulse site contains message boards, online surveys and links to relevant organizations as well as other Oxygen sites.

About Penn, Schoen & Berland

Penn, Schoen & Berland has been conducting strategic research for more than two decades on behalf of political candidates and Fortune 500 companies.