Geraldine A. Ferraro may not have helped Walter F. Mondale win the presidency, but her pioneering vice-presidential candidacy should advance other women's political careers, according to a poll released yesterday by the National Women's Political Caucus.
Twenty-seven percent of voters surveyed said Ferraro's candidacy will make them more likely to vote for a woman in the future, while 7 percent said it would make them less likely.
The poll, based on interviews with 1,786 voters, was conducted in five congressional districts the week after the election.
The survey suggests that some sex bias persists, but that many stereotypes have disappeared and that being a woman is considered a political plus by many voters. For example, a majority of respondents said that women candidates were more straightforward, honest, effective and compassionate than men, and that women had more "new ideas."
Pollster David Cooper estimated that female candidates begin with an advantage of 3 to 4 percentage points over males.
He said a new coalition also appears to be forming behind Republican and Democratic women candidates. It includes working women, male and female professionals, young voters and unmarried voters.
However, the poll found that older women remain resistant to female candidates. Female respondents over 65 said they voted 2 to 1 in favor of men. Most men also tended to vote for male candidates.
Women congressional candidates lost to male opponents in four of the five districts surveyed, but not because of their sex, according to NWPC chairman Kathy Wilson.
The women, she said, "lost because they were mismatched with their districts . . . .Our survey suggests that if a man and a woman are equally suited for a district, the woman may very well be the better bet."
A report on the poll said that Frances Farley, a former state senator, lost to Republican David Monson because her liberal views, including her support of legalized abortion, were out of step with her conservative Utah congressional district.
Dudley Dudley, a well-known New Hampshire Democrat, had similar problems, the report said. "Her association with Ted Kennedy, Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas and Jane Fonda certainly did not help to correct any image of extreme liberalism the voters had concerning her," it added.
Rep. Jan Meyers (R-Kan.), one of only two new women elected to Congress last fall, "won because she was a good match for her district, both ideologically and in terms of her party identification," the report said.
The report attributed the victory of Rep. Harold L. Volkmer (D-Mo.) over Carrie Francke, a political unknown, to his support among union members and senior citizens and Francke's misrepresentation of her academic credentials. It said the victory of Rep. Andy Ireland (R-Fla.) over Pat Glass, a county commissioner, was due largely to his personal popularity.