Early exit polling from last month’s presidential election suggested that majorities of voters in key states support legal access to abortion services, and a new poll released today confirms that women’s health issues were a decisive factor in helping voters decide between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Post-election polling conducted by Hart Research Associates and Lake Research Partners found that the GOP’s positions on women’s health issues — particularly in regards to eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, banning legal abortion services, and restricting access to affordable birth control — likely cost them the White House. The poll results confirm that more than 60 percent of all voters disagreed with Romney’s position on each of those major reproductive health issues, and women voters had even higher rates of disapproval.
And when voters were asked how much the presidential candidates’ positions on those issues influenced their vote, they confirmed that women’s health issues were likely to be a deciding factor in casting a ballot for Obama. Nearly 50 percent of voters said that they were much more likely to vote for Obama based on his position on abortion access, whereas just 28 percent said that Romney’s position on the subject swayed them in his favor. Independent voters preferred Obama’s abortion stance by 30 points:
Despite the fact that many GOP politicians attempted to brush aside women’s issues to focus on the economy — as if access to reproductive health services is somehow a narrow special interest that doesn’t also have a significant impact on women’s and men’s economic realities — voters were, in fact, swayed by learning more about the candidates’ stances on abortion, birth control, and Planned Parenthood. Poll results show that 64 percent of all voters saw, heard, or read something during the lead-up to the election about Romney’s goal to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and 55 percent of voters similarly learned about Romney’s desire to overturn Roe v. Wade.