Rasmussen: Majority opposes Obama contraception mandate on religious organizations

posted at 1:55 pm on February 8, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Some in the media have expressed puzzlement over the controversy generated by new HHS mandate imposed by the Obama administration that would force religious organizations to pay for contraception even if it goes against their religious doctrine.  The New York Times and the Washington Post took pains to point out that Catholics are in favor of such mandates in earlier polling.  However, Rasmussen’s latest national survey of 1,000 likely voters show a majority opposing the mandate on religious organizations — and that Catholics take an even dimmer view of such an intrusion on their beliefs:

Half of voters do not agree with the Obama administration’s action forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control measures that they morally oppose.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should require a church or religious organization to provide contraceptives for women even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. Fifty percent (50%) disagree and oppose such a requirement that runs contrary to strong beliefs, while 10% more are undecided.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of male voters are against the government requiring contraceptive coverage in a case like this. Female voters are almost evenly divided on the question. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Catholic voters oppose this requirement, as do 62% of Evangelical Christians, and 50% of other Protestants. Most non-Christians (56%) support the Obama Administration ruling.

Even apart from the question of exempting religious organizations, voters aren’t exactly applauding the new HHS insurance mandate.  A plurality opposes a government requirement to provide such coverage, 46% to 43% supporting.  A majority of voters (54%) understand that requiring no-cost coverage of contraception means that the cost of insurance will rise for everyone; only 16% thought it would not.  On the religious exemption, Obama doesn’t even win women, who narrowly oppose the revocation of the exemption by 45%, with 43% supporting the decision.

In the political demos, Obama gets more bad news.  Democrats support his mandate 60/27, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement.  Republicans oppose it 16/75, and a plurality of independents do as well, 43/49.  Every income demographic except the lowest of under-$20K and $75-100K opposes it by majorities.  Only those who never attend religious services or attend less than once a month support the mandate; all other categories oppose it by large majorities.  Even the “political class,” usually reliably liberal, opposes the mandate on religious organizations by 25/63.

John Boehner gave a rare speech on the House floor today pledging to fight this new mandate:

“This rule would require faith-based employers – including Catholic charities, schools, universities, and hospitals – to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception,” Boehner added. “If the president does not reverse the Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must. The House will approach this matter fairly and deliberately, through regular order and the appropriate legislative channels.”

“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand,” he said.

The Anchoress wonders if this is why Bill Daley was in such a hurry to exit the White House. Daley apparently tried to warn Obama against taking this course of action.

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