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Hobby Lobby Is Not An Issue That Will Bring Voters To The Polls In November

Hobby Lobby

A new poll indicates that, for the most part, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is unlikely to motivate voters to go to the polls in November:

When the Supreme Court ruled in June that some employers could opt out of covering certain contraceptives for employees if doing so violates their religious beliefs, it divided the country. What it didn’t do was give many people extra motivation to vote in November.

The country is split down the middle over the ruling, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll released Friday. Forty-seven percent support it, 49 percent don’t.

About the same share of Republicans approve of the decision (71 percent) as Democrats (70 percent) disapprove of it. Independents are split right down the middle.

Here’s the chart that shows how approval and disapproval of the decision is basically split evenly among nearly all demographic groups except people who self-identify as Republicans or Democrats:

Kaiser Chart One

The fact that there’s an equal division by itself largely means that the decision is unlikely to help either party at the polls, but that fact is brought home even more when you notice that the vast majority of people say they are unlikely to change their decision on whether or not they will vote in November:

Kaiser Chart Two

In some sense, what we’re seeing here is the same kind of phenomenon that we see with issues like gun control where there is a large segment of the public, or in this case a particular demographic group, that feels very strongly about an issue but which still doesn’t have an huge impact on elections. The reason we see this is because issue polling often only asks half of what it ought to be asking. It’s important to know, for example, that a large number of Americans favor enhanced background checks for gun purchases (which I discussed in this context here and here), or that in this case a large number of women oppose the Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby, but that only tells us half the story. The other half comes if you ask poll respondents who important a particular issue is compared to other issues such as the economy, you often find that the issue is not one that voters consider important enough to change their vote, or to motivate them to vote. Thus, it becomes hard for a politician to persuade people to vote based solely on one of these high approval/low intensity issues. Perhaps there will be some people who will be persuadable on the margins, but based on these numbers it seems unlikely that there will be many people casting ballots in November based on their reaction to the Hobby Lobby decision.

As Sean Sullivan points out, if this holds up it likely hurts Democrats more than Republicans. We’ve already seen that women voters are less likely to support candidates who support the Supreme Court’s decision, but if it really is the case that the decision isn’t going to have a big impact on turnout then Democratic candidates aren’t likely to benefit much from that gender gap. Obviously, this could change as we get closer to the election, but right now the Democrats should not put much hope in the idea of Hobby Lobby saving them in November.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    I’m not sure why somebody would have thought Hobby Lobby would bring in the voters. This term’s Congressional elections won’t straighten the Supreme Court’s rightward tilt. The electorate is powerless until 2016 to have even a token impact on that esteemed body.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  2. mantis says:

    Obviously, this could change as we get closer to the election, but right now the Democrats should not put much hope in the idea of Hobby Lobby saving them in November.

    Well, that’s what campaigns are for, is it not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  3. grumpy realist says:

    OT, but if any of you are still following McDaniel’s determination to be the last man standing in Mississippi….

    It looks like aside from “sore loser”, this guy’s also going to go down in history as not being able to read….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. jib says:

    Wait a minute. Just because the country is split in half does not mean this has no effect at the polls. One side won, one side loss. In general, the losing side gets more pissed off than the winning side. Anger is motivating. Obamacare polls were split pretty even. But the losing side, the repubs, were pissed off and voted in larger numbers that the winning (happy) side.

    I dont know if any of this matters but Hobby Lobby, impeachment, the end of obamacare subsidies for most states, even doing nothing on immigration, all of these piss off motivate dems more than repubs. (It is counter intuitive but I actually think that if the repubs had passed the immigration bill it would have angered the tea party and actually helped the repubs in Nov)

    I think that come Nov the repub advantage will be smaller than they expect. I mean, come on, its the republicans. These guys are masters at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  5. dan lack says:

    I think the issue might resonate in November, in the sense that people have the feeling that Republicans/conservatives generally seem to want to take rights away from people and Dems want to expand them and safeguard them…this ruling simply adds to that thinking

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. PAUL HOOSON says:

    Who knew that HOBBY LOBBY even has customers? It’s not a business that even comes to mind of places to shop for most people. Some large chains like Fred Meyer(owned by Kroger) virtually eliminated most craft items years ago because of near zero consumer interest in foam, glitter and glue projects, except for a few lonely cat ladies with no boyfriends and nothing better to do than decorate an old flower pot with a little glitter on a warm Friday night. – Likewise, the company’s controversy won’t sway many voters, except for a few fringe voters on the outer edges of the left or right…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  7. JKB says:

    Let’s see what’s more motivating. The rabble rousing over having to pay for something most already paid for anyway. And could easily be handled by a federal Birth Control Stamp program. Heck, even put it on the EBT card authorizations.

    Or, a direct assault on people’s religious beliefs which require them to do something they believe imperils their mortal soul. And as above, could easily have been provided by a direct federal program rather than infringing upon religious beliefs.

    And, while Hobby Lobby was about 4 methods considered abortion by the owners, there are cases in the pipe that deal with the Catholic prohibition on birth control in general. Now, the Catholic church in the US is pretty debased and many professed Catholics don’t practice. However, those newly arrived from Latin America tend to have a much more traditional Catholic belief system.

    It probably won’t matter much but if it does start to matter, I suspect it will matter more to those who, upon careful thought, agree with Hobby Lobby. The tricky part to predict is that careful thought.

    Essentially, it is the same problem that makes the NRA so powerful as explained in this Learn Liberty video.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 20

  8. anjin-san says:

    a direct assault on people’s religious beliefs which require them to do something they believe imperils their mortal soul.

    Giving your employees health insurance is cause for damnation? Somehow, I think God is bigger than that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  9. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Well, first, stop obfuscating. The matter at hand in Hobby Lobby is not the provision of health insurance, which the company provides now and provided before the Obamacare law. The issue is the paying for 4 types of “birth control” that under the Hobby Lobby owners’ beliefs is abortion.

    That raises up another matter. In religious beliefs, what you think only pertains to you and neither confirms or refutes the beliefs of others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    The issue is the paying for 4 types of “birth control” that under the Hobby Lobby owners’ beliefs is abortion.

    That they happily allowed as part of their employees compensation package before the ACA. Something about that legislation suddenly imperiled their eternal souls. I guess they suddenly found Jesus and are now saved.

    In religious beliefs, what you think only pertains to you and neither confirms or refutes the beliefs of others.

    BWAHAHAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA… Wow. Just Wow. Didn’t see that one coming. Too bad the owners of Hobby Lobby didn’t feel the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  11. Tony W says:

    @PAUL HOOSON: Yeah – plus what’s up with the word “Lobby” in their name?

    Are they just a waiting room for something else, or a group of people descending on Washington periodically to have their way with our elected officials?

    I’m stickin’ with Michael’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That they happily allowed as part of their employees compensation package before the ACA.

    They did not cover the 4 methods in the healthcare plans offered before ACA. Hobby Lobby self insures as many companies do. That means that while administered by an “insurance” company, they pay all the bills directly out of company funds. By covering the 4 methods, the owners of this closely held corporation are directly paying for what they consider abortions.

    Too bad the owners of Hobby Lobby didn’t feel the same.

    What on earth are you talking about? There have been not reports that Hobby Lobby sought to impose their beliefs on employees when the company was not expected to directly pay for what they consider abortion. There are no reports that the company sought to interfere with employees spending their own money, much or all earned via wages from the company, on the 4 methods.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  13. stonetools says:

    I think Hobby Lobby BY ITSELF will not drive women to the polls. But Hobby Lobby is part of a pattern of a relentless assault on women’s rights dating back to the Tea Party wave of 2010. Hobby Lobby emphasizes yet again that the Republican Party is the anti-women’s rights party, and the Democrats will campaign on the “War Against Women” theme-a theme reinforced by the recent decision in which five Republican Catholic men decided that the religious rights of the owner of a corporation reigned supreme over the rights of thousands of female employees. The ads write themselves, and the Democrats have a ready made campaign issue. Let’s hope they use it properly. I also expect the Republicans to help things along with yet more statements about how women who need contraceptive coverage are sluts who just need to restrain themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  14. wr says:

    Hmm. Didn’t I read on this very site — possibly even from this very author — just a couple of years ago that Romney’s “47 percent” speech wasn’t moving the polls, and thus would clearly not matter in the election? When in fact it came to define the candidate to the exclusion of almost everything else.

    Sometimes what shows up on polling answers does not capture the bigger picture…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  15. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    They did not cover the 4 methods in the healthcare plans offered before ACA.

    Er, actually, they did:

    Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court victory over the federal government’s contraception rule set off a fast-breaking wave of punditry on national TV. CNN brought in liberal pundit and contributor Sally Kohn, who panned the court’s 5-4 decision as disastrous and Hobby Lobby’s intentions as disingenuous.

    “Hobby Lobby provided this coverage before they decided to drop it to file suit, which was politically motivated,” she said.

    We can’t determine if politics motivated the company, but we did wonder whether Hobby Lobby covered the types of birth control at issue in its lawsuit but dropped the coverage before filing its complaint.

    The short answer: Yes.

    What happened here is that they suddenly decided, against the scientific evidence, that these methods were abortifacents, changed their policy and brought the lawsuit in order to enforce their beliefs on their employees. Had they offered contraceptive coverage, it would have been up to the employees to decide whether, say, an IUD caused abortion and secondarily, whether to use that method.But Hobby Lobby decided to enforce their morality instead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    What sin were the owners of Hobby Lobby forced to commit that would put them at risk of damnation? Please be specific.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    Heh, the sin of providing their employees with the opportunity to exercise their own freedom of conscience.
    Even if an employee decided to use , say, Plan B, the responsibility would lie with the employee, not Hobby Lobby.
    Consider this scenario: a gun shop owner sells a gun to someone who uses it to commit murder. Is the store owner responsible? I’m betting that JKB and every Second Amendment apologist in the land would scream , “No way!” But JKB somehow buys Hobby Hobby’s conceit that they would be “responsible” if one of their employees uses their contraceptive coverage to buy an “abortifacent,” after consulting with a physician.This is the pretzel logic that supports this lawsuit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  18. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: What sin were the owners of Hobby Lobby forced to commit that would put them at risk of damnation? Please be specific.

    Thou shalt not kill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  19. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Who are the owners of Hobby Lobby going to be forced to kill? Again, please be specific.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  20. anjin-san says:

    @ stonetools

    You beat me to it :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    So you accept that in their beliefs that the intentional termination of a child after conception is killing.

    In American law, if you pay for someone to intentionally kill another, you are just as guilty as if you actually did the killing. How would that not be true before God if God tells you not to intentionally kill a child after conception?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  22. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    In American law, if you pay for someone to intentionally kill another, you are just as guilty as if you actually did the killing.

    In American law, manufacturing, distributing, and using these drugs is legal. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    But the standard is not what is legal. The standard is their religious beliefs. I simply used the law as an example. Try to comprehend the sentence after that one. The one where I relate that there is no reason to believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition from which our law comes wouldn’t attach the same culpability to those who paid for the sin.

    Hobby Lobby has not asserted that the drugs/methods are criminal or illegal, only that they are a sin under the beliefs of their religion. And the RFRA requires that the government use the manner to achieve their assumed governmental interest in providing free birth control that is least imposing upon religious beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  24. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    In American law, if you pay for someone to intentionally kill another, you are just as guilty as if you actually did the killing.

    Health insurance is just part of an employee’s compensation. By your logic, if an employee buys a gun with his wages and murders someone with it, his employer is also guilty of the crime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  25. JKB says:

    @mantis:

    Now you are just being ignorant. Try to offer something intelligent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  26. anjin-San says:

    @ JKB

    “The drugs are a sin” – how do you figure? A pill is an inanimate object, it does not posses free will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  27. Pylon says:

    JKB’s argument is a prime example of the difficulty the religious right has in defending the decision

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  28. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    there is no reason to believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition from which our law comes wouldn’t attach the same culpability to those who paid for the sin.

    You are going to have to do a little better than lukewarm rationalizations and cherry picking both the Bible and secular law (or to be more precise, your deeply flawed interpretation of it) to justify throwing equal protection under the bus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. JKB says:

    @Pylon:
    Surely you can elaborate?

    @anjin-san:

    Now we are back to the topic of this post. You DemProgs are hoping to obfuscate the case as some “equal protection” matter when in reality is it simply a question of when the government bureaucrats can substantially impose upon the freedom of religion by fiat.

    As it happens, there is overwhelmingly bipartisan supported, 20 year old, “settled” law to answer the question. The application of that law to the matter at hand could have been waived by Congress when they passed the health care law but they purposely, or perhaps incompetently, did not. By the unaccountable bureaucrats’ own actions they have signaled that the procedure they imposed by fiat is not the least burdensome on religious beliefs way to achieve the presumed governmental interest in providing “free” birth control.

    So who is likely to be motivated to vote this issue? Those who upon any cogent thought would see through the obfuscation? Or those who will see it at as a case that rolled back a direct and purposeful attack on the freedom of religion by unaccountable government bureaucrats who willfully ignored settled law on what impositions on the practice of religion were acceptable?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  30. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    freedom of religion

    Arab oil interests actually own a decent chunk of America. Can companies in the US owned by Muslims now shape their HR compensation based on Sharia Law?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Still waiting for an explantation of how an inanimate object like a drug can be a sin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Still waiting for an explantation of how an inanimate object like a drug can be a sin.

    First you explain how an inanimate object like a gun can kill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  33. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Can companies in the US owned by Muslims now shape their HR compensation based on Sharia Law?

    Sure, as long at those policies don’t conflict with the reasonable governmental interest in ensuring that there is not employment discrimination based on race, creed, sex, etc. If they do, then the companies would have to show that they are closely held and operate based on deeply held religious beliefs. Plus, to avoid having the practice prohibited, they’d have to show that there was another less burdensome way the government could achieve its goal to eliminate gender/racial/etc. discrimination in employment, which no one has as of yet.

    Really, if you are incapable of comprehending the law in question, The RFRA, then you should just stop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  34. anjin-san says:

    @JKB

    First you explain how an inanimate object like a gun can kill.

    You made the claim that a drug can in of itself, can be a sin, and now you can’t support that claim. Perhaps it’s time for you to just stop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    So who is likely to be motivated to vote this issue? Those who upon any cogent thought would see through the obfuscation? Or those who will see it at as a case that rolled back a direct and purposeful attack on the freedom of religion by unaccountable government bureaucrats who willfully ignored settled law on what impositions on the practice of religion were acceptable?

    Actually seeing JKB try to defend Hobby Hobby in such fashion gives me hope that the issue will hurt Republicans this fall. Note the highly abstract fashion in which he casts the terms of defense, not really coming to grips with the actual reality. Guess what , JKB, there are tens of millions of women who have had IUDs installed inside them. They KNOW, in a way, that you or I never could what IUDs do and know that they don’t cause abortions,and that only a religious kook could believe IUDs cause abortions.They know this, just as they KNOW that it is they and not you or Mr. Hobby Lobby who will have to bear the unwanted child. They also know that when the time comes to give birth to the child, neither you or Mr Hobby Lobby will be around to offer support of any kind(Indeed , Hobby Lobby recently fired a mother who brought her child to term and had the temerity to ask for time off).
    So no, discussing this issue will be great for Democrats since the more we discuss the real world effects of the decision the worse the Republicans will look.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Now we are back to the topic of this post. You DemProgs are hoping to obfuscate the case as some “equal protection” matter when in reality is it simply a question of when the government bureaucrats can substantially impose upon the freedom of religion by fiat.

    So government bureaucrats are ordering women to take birth control? If it – insurance coverage of contraception – is part of plan coverage women must avail themselves of birth control? I am aware of no such requirement. Women may choose (or choose not) to use contraception.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0