Liberal spin out of sync with liberal media polls on HHS mandate

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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For weeks now, liberal pundits have been predicting the GOP’s so-called “war on contraception” would be a huge boon for President Obama, politically. In actuality, it seems that analysis isn’t supported by polling results.

Yesterday, John McCormack noted that according to the newest Washington Post/ABC poll, President Obama actually lost ground among women during the last month. But as Mickey Kaus notes — also buried in today’s New York Times/CBS poll — are some additionally interesting numbers (of course, you won’t read them in the front-page article about the survey.)

The article, “Obama’s Rating Falls as Poll Reflects Volatility,” focuses on President Obama’s significant overall drop — but it is not until the very last paragraph that the Times notes in passing:

In recent weeks, there has been much debate over the government’s role in guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception, including for those who work for religious organizations. The poll found that women were split as to whether health insurance plans should cover the costs of birth control and whether employers with religious objections should be able to opt out.

Okay, “women were split.” But how split?

Digging deeper into the actual survey, there is a very specific question that should give Democrats pause. When asked if “religiously affiliated employers” should be able to “opt out of covering” the full cost of birth control, 57 percent said they should:

… Interestingly, a small majority (51 percent) of those surveyed believed that any institution — religious, or not — should be allowed to opt out. Also worth noting is that it seems Democrats have actually won the framing war — a large margin of those surveyed believe the debate is over women’s health (not religious liberty). Typically whoever wins the framing war, wins the debate. That hasn’t been true, thus far — at least, not according to polling.

But the big story here is that the Beltway wisdom appears to have been all wrong on this one…

Matt K. Lewis