CNN poll shows majority opposes HHS mandate, 50/44

posted at 8:40 am on February 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

CNN polled general-population adults over the weekend on the HHS mandate.  Both the sample type and the timing gave Barack Obama the advantage; general-population polls skew more liberal than polls among registered or likely voters, and the survey took place just after Obama announced his “accommodation” and the media spent all weekend reporting on his “compromise.”  Even with all of those advantages, the poll found a majority opposed to the HHS mandate, 50/44:

Half of all Americans say they oppose the Obama administration’s new policy concerning employer-provided health insurance plans and their coverage of contraceptive services for female employees including those at religiously affiliated institutions, according to a new national survey. …

According to the survey, 50% of the public disapproves of the Obama administration policy, with 44% saying they approve of the plan. The margin is right at the edge of the poll’s sampling error.

Surveys on this topic tell a mixed story because many Americans know little about the issue. Recent CBS and Fox polls indicate support for the new policy, using questions that describe the new policy in some detail. But in the CNN poll, when asked their opinion of the Obama policy with no details spelled out, support was much less and a large partisan divide emerged. A recent Pew poll also suggests Americans are closely divided, and that poll may hold the key to the differences. Nearly four in ten Americans say they have heard nothing at all about this controversy.

“The CNN poll illustrates the road ahead for the White House,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “If the administration can’t inform more Americans about the details of the policy – details that some other polls show to be popular – the public is likely to split along party lines. Many will dislike the plan simply due to the fact that this is an Obama initiative.”

Actually, when one looks at the internals of the poll, it’s pretty clear that opposition is broad but the support is partisan. The only support outside the MOE in the demographics for the mandate come from the usual suspects: Democrats (70/26), 18-34YOs (and only 50/39), liberals (70/24), moderates (49/43), the Northeast (53/41), non-white (60/32), urban (55/42), and Tea Party opposition (71/20).  These are all Democratic constituencies.  In contrast, the mandate is opposed by majorities in all other age demos, in those making $50K or more, majorities in the Midwest and South, a majority in the suburbs (52/41), a majority among those who have not attended college, a majority among Tea Party neutrals (51/43), and a narrow plurality of independents (47/44) which is within the MOE.  Plus, keep in mind that the general-population polling type usually skews responses favorably toward Democrats and liberals, so the impact of those majorities to the overall result will be outsized.

Also, it’s hardly clear that few people have heard of the controversy.  Only 6% of the respondents in this poll had no opinion on the issue.  Furthermore, the polling on contraception and the Catholic Church are widely divergent from the polling on the core question, which strongly suggests that the respondents in CNN’s poll know enough about it to understand that the question doesn’t really hinge on either.  Artificial contraception gets support from 81% in this poll, and 88% think Catholics should make up their own minds about birth control rather than accept church teachings — which is a little puzzling, because church membership is voluntary and accepting the teachings is in fact making up your own mind. Despite these overwhelming results in favor of contraception, the majority still opposes the mandate, which tells us that some other values are in play — probably religious liberty and freedom of choice, although CNN doesn’t bother to poll on the reasons for the opposition.

Charles Krauthammer hits those notes in today’s column:

First, the assault on the free exercise of religion. Only churches themselves are left alone. Beyond the churchyard gate, religious autonomy disappears. Every other religious institution must bow to the state because, by this administration’s regulatory definition, church schools, hospitals and charities are not “religious” and thus have no right to the free exercise of religion — no protection from being forced into doctrinal violations commanded by the state.

Second, the assault on free enterprise. To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington’s takeover of the private system of medical care — a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining.

Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already hypertrophied Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.

We warned people that this would happen if ObamaCare passed — that the government would have dictatorial powers to strip us of our choices in health care and beyond.  As Krauthammer writes, this is just Presidential Decree #1.  More will come.


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Thank you. Yes, I like St. Gaudens double eagle design, especially in high relief, but I think I like his eagle design even more.

St Gaudens on February 17, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Yes, so do I. I’m sorry I missed the UHR double eagle commemorative they released in 2009.

Doomberg on February 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Nathor, did you happen to see this? Not hard to miss it’s on the same page.

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/02/16/just-what-you-want-to-hear-planned-parenthood-works-around-the-clock-to-hook-your-kids-on-sex/

MontanaMmmm on February 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I saw it. my claim stands:

did PP created the sex drive? or is PP just responding to sex drive increase, in their nanny statish way, resulting from the sex drive appeal, so common in our profit driven media that discovered that sex sells.

that thread was construing PP as trying to hook childs on sex so that they would make money out of abortions or something. Its silly. PP, as the thread explained, does not have the power to significantly change our culture.

nathor on February 17, 2012 at 10:06 AM

The only contraception that should ever be mandated is that which costs the taxpayers nothing: “keep your LEGS together, Sister”.

wildcat72 on February 17, 2012 at 8:49 AM

It also costs the taxpayers nothing to “keep it ZIPPED, Brother.”

AesopFan on February 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM

. . . because church membership is voluntary and accepting the teachings is in fact making up your own mind.

Not when a church brands itself as the One True Church outside of which all others are heretics doomed to hell. This mindset removes choice and instills guilt where the Bible is silent. It is an enduring legacy of the Catholic Church for those who defer to Catholic teaching thus motivated.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Forgive me if this has been posted already, but Nancy wants to hear from women.

Shay on February 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM

libertarian stand there… which i agree with…
I confess i am divided on the level of libertarinism to be given.
for example, public education is good for me because it makes me deal less with the literate population that would result of no public education .
in this racional some public health services like vaccination also make sense. and free contraception might fall into this category.

i haven’t seen any good argument on this topic here in HA…

nathor on February 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Nothing can be a right that compels someone else to give up something or to provide something against their will.

IE: free speech can be a right because it doesn’t compel others to listen.

Free pills vaccinations, healthcare, etc can’t be a right because it compels drug companies to produce a product and not be compensated or be compensated less than they wish to sell it for, and doctors would be compelled to do things they might not want to do.

Socialized medicine can be argued to be a violation of the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery.

wildcat72 on February 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM

wildcat72 on February 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Wow! I’m impressed. You actually understood anything she said in that post?

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 10:34 AM

The democrats are experts at pushing their agenda no matter how corrupt or immoral and especially no matter how unconstitutional. They will lie and use reasoning that defies logic. You can’t argue with this kind of insanity. And I was on a college campus recently and it’s horrifying how the young mush-for-brains are being indoctrinated into becoming future mouthpieces for the garbage the democrats support. The kind of stuff that comes out of their mouths!!! That’s why it’s time to push back and push back HARD. The liberals are on the move and are doing plenty of damage.

mozalf on February 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Not when a church brands itself as the One True Church outside of which all others are heretics doomed to hell. This mindset removes choice and instills guilt where the Bible is silent. It is an enduring legacy of the Catholic Church for those who defer to Catholic teaching thus motivated.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Yes, I think you missed the point entirely. If you don’t like the teachings of the Catholic Church, which you obviously don’t, you don’t have to be a member. Pretty simple really.

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Soledad Obrien on CNN today says to her panel that this “is a contraception debate framed as a religious liberty debate” and truly believes it.

Not that ya’ll need another example of liberals who spoon-feed each other intellectual pablum. But certainly polling is going to reflect the low-grade intellectual comprehension of folks who get their information from the abundance of Ms. Obrien types who are a full snake short of a Gadsden flag.

LetsBfrank on February 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

And this is what’s really scary about this issue — we’ve allowed the MSM not only to frame this debate, but even on this thread we pursue the straw man argument that our trolls throw out that we’re against women having access to contraception. Every time that issue is raised, it should be ignored, and instead the real issue of this mandate being unconstitutional should be hammered home — here at HA, and in every article, every interview, every conversation that our side and potential candidates take part.

suzeecue on February 17, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

No. Try walking away (exercising choice) when you believe doing so amounts to self-damnation. There is no like/dislike for one thus ensnared, just heaven or hell. Catholicism has a long history as the One True Church, though lately not so public about it.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Not when a church brands itself as the One True Church outside of which all others are heretics doomed to hell. This mindset removes choice and instills guilt where the Bible is silent. It is an enduring legacy of the Catholic Church for those who defer to Catholic teaching thus motivated.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:26 AM

You are so missing your chance to tell other people what they can and what they can’t believe in.

Roy Rogers on February 17, 2012 at 10:47 AM

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Allahu Ahkbahhhhh…

Roy Rogers on February 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

And who is Charles backing for the oppositon that could take this apart – well he shot down the moral gal, Palin (that having Trig was so..well…uncouth) and one can only believe he supports the GOP’s annointed one, Oromney. No sane man would bet that he will ever dismantle what Obama called the clone medical plan of Romney finest political advancement, Oromneycare.

How long before Massachusetts starts after Catholic and other Christian consciences thru Oromneycare?

Oh I forgot – the majority of those Northest Catholic consciences have mostly atrophied under the allure of the Godless left’s free illicit candy.(polls 53% Ma for Obama -CT 55% voting for Obama.) What is wrong with their shepherds?

Don L on February 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM

That’s not true. That strawman argument is addressed every time it’s presented. Personally, I like asking them if they’re ok with being forced to pay for me to buy guns.

blink on February 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Actually, with this administration, and if you lived near the border -you might be forced to sell guns!

Don L on February 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM

We don’t have a king in this country. Someone should tell Obama.

LizardLips on February 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Catholicism has a long history as the One True Church, though lately not so public about it.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM

No, the Roman Catholic Church sees itself as the original church because, well you know, it is. But the Catholic Church accepts baptism from any legitimate Christian denomination and Pope Benedict is a champion of ecumnism.

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

It’s stated: God and Country, in that order for a reason.

Without God there would be NO country.

Marcus Traianus on February 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

ecumenism too!

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Roy Rogers on February 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Yes, Islam is similarly cultic.

My comments are not intended as anti-Catholic. People need to define faith and eternity for themselves based on available revelation in whatever form it has taken. People with power (political, economic, RELIGIOUS) use it to THEIR advantage and remove liberty in its various forms.

This should not be a difficult concept for conservatives.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Statistics don’t lie. Statisticians do. Democrats are hiring poorly trained statistacians who can’t do statistics, so get more training in lying. Als:–

—the report is that results are split along Political Party lines. Could be, but looks to me like the split is more along those who are ‘takers’ vs those who are ‘makers’. Maybe that is Political Party lines, though! lol

dahni on February 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Trafalgar on February 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Thank you for your rational and informative reply.

exdeadhead on February 17, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Why the hell should I pay for abortifacients and birth control? I don’t use them. Why the hell should I pay for somebody else’s medical attention, period? I don’t even go to the doctor, being one of those freaks who prefer alternative medicine. If I do go to the doctor, I pay cash. I should have to pay for some couch potato’s medical care? The person who sits around all day, doesn’t exercise, and stuffs himself with junk food? Pay for the medical care of people who take no interest in PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their own health? Which is pretty much a big chunk of our society.

Bulls**t.

sage0925 on February 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM

So Americans 50 to 44 see through little Bammie’s fake accommodation, yet the two dimwit Senators from Maine fell for it.

slickwillie2001 on February 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Fleuries on February 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Thanks Fleuries, that makes more sense. Too bad Romney can’t explain it like that. Or Ann Coulter.

ctmom on February 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Recent CBS and Fox polls indicate support for the new policy, using questions that describe the new policy in some detail. But in the CNN poll, when asked their opinion of the Obama policy with no details spelled out, support was much less and a large partisan divide emerged.

Obviously the CNN poll is the one to go with here.

RightOFLeft on February 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

It stinks.

President Obama lobbed a dead ball in Milwaukee while visiting Master Lock. He reminisced about his days in stinky locker rooms:

” If you go into the boy’s locker room in high school, sometimes it’s a little…powerful…the odor in there. So I was thinking about the fact that, you know, we weren’t washing our stuff enough.”

Schadenfreude on February 17, 2012 at 12:36 PM

A question about a policy that does not describe the policy? How could those answers be at all useful? Here’s what the pollster actually asked:

As you may know, the Obama administration has announced a new policy concerning health insurance plans provided by employers, including religious organizations, and how they handle birth control and contraceptive services for women. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of this policy?

Ridiculously vague. No wonder they got 50% to “disapprove,” since that’s often the default answer when a public-policy question is asked in surveys like these.

Far more informative are this same polls results to these two questions:

Regardless of how you feel about that policy, do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Using
artificial means of birth control is wrong?”
All Americans disagree 81%, Catholics disagree 77%

Catholics were asked: Do you think Catholics should always obey official Church teachings on such moral issues as birth control and abortion, or do you think it is possible for Catholics to make up their own minds on these issues?
Catholics say Make up own minds 88%

These findings are hardly consistent with the responses to the headline-generating question. I’m afraid that result says more about the low-information voter than it does about the topic at hand. “As you may know” indeed.

Drew Lowell on February 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I suggest the GOP propose legislation requiring mosques to provide their member with free bacon and ham. When the media raises its objection, the Republicans can respond, “Are you suggesting that the government has no business telling religious organizations what they must provide?”

Colony14 on February 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I see some hop in the survey results. Obama no doubt thought he would have an overwhelming majority of Americans in favor of his “free contraceptives decree,” but apparently a large percentage of the population may understand that the concept of liberty does not include the government forcing people to pay for something they oppose on moral grounds, or demanding that private sector companies provide for free a product that costs far less than the typical American’s cell phone bill. Perhaps people are finally saying, “Enough is enough!” If that is the case, Barry is toast.

Colony14 on February 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Does anyone out there doubt that this is an assault against the Constitution by way of the 1st Amendment? Embrace the 2nd: that may be all we have left if November goes bad…

affenhauer on February 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM

1. The larger problem is that Congress once again had given over to the Executive Branch and its bureaucracy its own responsibility for making laws. One corollary: congressional bills in the future should be no longer than a few hundred pages of specifics.

2. It’s obvious that approval of contraceptives is one thing and religious freedom is another. Most Americans get the distinction. It’s a favorite tactic of the left to blur distinctions. But it doesn’t seem to be working in this case.

3. The mandate has not only backfired, it’s strengthened the Church’s image. Hitherto the bishops had been flayed by the media for the pedophile scandals. Now they look strong and principled. Even tepid Catholics are circling the wagons.

4. The mandate has weakened the government’s case in terms of the approaching Supreme Court decision on Obamacare since it illustrates better than any argument the assault on freedom buried in so many of its clauses.

writeblock on February 18, 2012 at 8:12 AM

If the question defined contraceptives as including the “day-after” pill, opposition would have been even higher.

publiuspen on February 17, 2012 at 8:43 AM

I agree. And I also think that if this decree stands its the same argument they will use to force health insurance to cover abortions if Obama is re elected. The argument would be essentially the same. The American people should be warned of how this sort of “harmless” decree could morph.

magicbeans on February 18, 2012 at 9:10 AM

My wife for the last couple of days…can not stop talking about the lunch the ‘government official SEIZED’ the other day, from some little kid…making the child eat chicken nuggets or something!
‘That’, was the cherry put on this threads sundae…and she has spittle forming around her mouth. Somebody may need rabies vaccine, if that mutt is in office past November!

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I’ve been telling that story to lots of my Democratic friends who are moms. They are equally put off by it. You should hear what they say they would do to the school official that messed with their kids packed lunch. These are the real examples of government intrusion that hit home even with Democrats.

magicbeans on February 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM

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