Obama’s Winning The Wedge Issue I

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 15 2012 @ 9:45am

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So much for Howie Kurtz’s sense that Obama had screwed up badly on the decision to include contraception in health insurance plans for women employed by Catholic-run institutions open to the general public. The latest NYT poll shows a big majority for the Obama original decision, which has now been adjusted further to keep the Bishops’ hands clean of any direct involvement. Here are the numbers:

61 percent of Americans support federally-mandated contraception coverage for religiously-affiliated employers; 31 percent oppose such coverage. The number is similar among self-professed Catholics surveyed: 61 percent said they support the Obama administration’s rule, while 32 percent oppose it.

Majorities of both men and women said they are in favor of the rule, though support among women is especially pronounced, with 66 percent supporting and 26 percent opposing it. Among men, 55 percent of men are in favor; 38 percent object.

Two-thirds of women back Obama over the hierarchy. 61 percent of Catholics back the president over the Pope. But a Pew survey shows a different result, with a narrow majority favoring exemptions for religiously-affiliated institutions, perhaps because it reflects far greater awareness among seniors of the issue, and because evangelicals have rallied to the call for religious freedom. Yes, on this issue, evangelicals are more opposed to the Obama rule than Catholics – even though evangelicals have no theological objection to the pill:

Awareness of the controversy is also far higher among older adults than among the young. Six-in-ten (60%) adults ages 18-29 have heard nothing about the issue, compared with just 24% among those 50 and older. Among people ages 30-49, 43% have not heard about it.

The Pew poll shows classic polarization with Independents split right down the middle: 48 – 46, within the margin of error. The NYT poll is one day more up to date.