Perhaps Rasmussen’s latest poll on ObamaCare will serve as a reminder to the Republican presidential hopefuls that this will be a very productive line of attack in the general election. Given that the HHS mandate springs directly from ObamaCare, it also serves as a guideline on how to handle that issue as well:

Despite the controversy over the Obama administration’s requirement that Catholic institutions provide free contraceptive coverage for employees, voters’ opinions on the health care law behind that requirement remain steady. Just over half of voters still want the law repealed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows 53% at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, while 38% oppose repeal. These figures include 41% who Strongly Favor repeal and 28% who are Strongly Opposed.

These findings are little changed from two weeks ago. Even before its passage by Congress in March 2010, most voters opposed the health care law, and they’ve continued to do so in regular tracking since then.  Support for repeal has ranged from a low of 47% to a high of 62%.  Opposition to repeal has ranged from 32% to 44%.

The support for a repeal is pretty broadly based.  Men favor it by a wide margin (62/34, strong positions 51/28), while women are more split on both the overall figure (46/42) and in strength of commitment (33/29 in strong positions).  Every age demo has a plurality or majority in favor of repeal except thirtysomethings, where repeal only gets a 41/52 rating.  Repeal wins in every income demo, too, even among those earning under $20K, 47/42.  Independents support repeal by about the same percentage as the overall population of likely voters (52/38).

The religious demos are also strongly in favor of repeal, none more so than evangelicals (75/18), where almost two-thirds (64%) strongly support repeal.  Protestants and Catholics have nearly the same results at 53/41 and 55/35 respectively, with Protestants slightly more strongly supportive of repeal, 43% to 40%.  The numbers are split among those who rarely or occasionally attend religious service, but for those going at least once a week or more,  more than two-thirds support repeal.

If Republicans — including Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — can emphasize the issue of the HHS mandate as a predictable exercise of dictatorial power from the ObamaCare bill and pull attention away from the specifics of the mandate, they can both broaden the outrage over the mandate and leverage the political opposition to ObamaCare.  They will have to be more skilled in making that argument, as the debate over the mandate has not impacted these results in the last two weeks, as Rasmussen notes.  The first Republican to force the media to address the issue of unbridled power over the private sector and the impact that has on personal choices and issues of religious conscience could capture some lightning in a bottle.