Critics deride that as a wispy distinction, but in the survey 49 percent of adults polled said they supported Obama's plan, compared with 40 percent who opposed it. This issue provoked sharp divisions by gender, race, and partisanship. Men split evenly on the proposal, with 44 percent supporting and 44 percent opposing; women, by contrast, supported Obama's approach by a solid 53 percent-to-36 percent majority. Likewise, while whites split evenly on the idea, minorities backed it by about 2-to-1. And while three-fifths of Republicans opposed the compromise, nearly two-thirds of Democrats, along with just over half of independents, backed it. (In this Congressional Connection Poll, the findings by party are reported only among registered voters, not all adults.)
But in a result that underscores how much the framing of these issues can affect attitudes, respondents split much more closely on a Republican legislative proposal that would have the effect of overriding Obama's plan. The survey noted that "Some members of Congress have proposed legislation that would allow employers to deny coverage for any medical service that violates the employer's moral convictions or religious beliefs"; the Senate is expected to vote this week on such an amendment from Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican.
On that question, 44 percent said they opposed creating such an exemption for employers, while 40 percent supported the idea. The idea was opposed by men and women as well as whites and nonwhites, though only by very narrow pluralities. Even the partisan splits were muted: Republicans favored it only narrowly, independents divided about evenly, and Democrats opposed it, though not overwhelmingly.
The Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, surveyed 1,005 adults Feb. 23-26; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error for registered voters is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
On two other contraception-related ideas advanced by Republicans, opinion tilted much more toward resistance. One question told respondents that the House of Representatives last year "voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides a variety of health care services to women such as birth control and breast cancer screenings" and noted that "[s]ome Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions, though not using federal funds." Given that description of the decision, fully 69 percent of those polled said they opposed cutting off funding; just 24 percent endorsed it. This idea faced broad opposition; 66 percent of men, 71 percent of women, 65 percent of whites, 78 percent of nonwhites, 70 percent of independents, and 79 percent of adults under 30 all said they opposed the funding cutoff.