Poll: Americans Support HHS Contraceptive Mandate
For the moment at least, it appears that the GOP is losing the debate over the contraceptive coverage mandate:
The close divide in a Senate vote Thursday over whether employers can refuse insurance coverage for contraception mirrors a sharp partisan divide among the public, according to a national poll and interviews with women around the country.
Over all, 63 percent of Americans said they supported the new federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, according to the survey of 1,519 Americans, conducted from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19 for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
While 8 in 10 Democrats said they supported requiring birth control coverage, only 4 in 10 Republicans did. Six in 10 people calling themselves independents voiced approval. Many Americans, in the survey and in independent interviews, expressed impatience with the focus on women’s reproductive issues in an era of economic distress.
It’s hard to tell, though, whether this will really end up hurting Republicans in the fall. According to the poll, 25% of respondents said that this could be an important issue for them in the fall, however that’s not exactly saying much. For one thing, the election is eight months away and public attention is likely to be focused on many other things between now and then. By the time voters walk into voting booths in November, the economy is still likely to be the number one issue. Unless, of course, the GOP decides to give the nomination to a culture warrior.