The majority of female voters don’t want to vote for politicians who support Hobby Lobby’s move to drop coverage for some forms of contraceptives, according to a new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates. Although the crafts chain won its recent Supreme Court challenge on religious liberty grounds, the results suggest that candidates may not win their races with the same stance.
Fifty seven percent of respondents told pollsters that they’d be more likely to support a candidate who opposes allowing employers to drop birth control coverage, and about half of them said they feel “very strongly” about that preference. An even higher number, 71 percent, said that elected officials who support the Hobby Lobby ruling are focused on the “wrong issues and priorities.”
The distaste for pro-Hobby Lobby candidates isn’t limited to voters who identify as Democrats. About 55 percent of independents said they were more likely to support politicians who oppose allowing companies to refuse to cover contraception, versus just 20 percent who said they would lend their support to a politician who supports that policy. Republican women are about evenly split, with 34 percent preferring candidates who oppose the Hobby Lobby ruling and 38 percent preferring candidates who favor it.
“This poll shows that women are focused on the Hobby Lobby ruling, they’re angry about it, and they’re going to vote based on it this November,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. The survey was commissioned on behalf of Laguens’ group, which is spending millions of dollars this election cycle to focus midterm races on women’s health issues.
Other recent polls have reported similar findings. Before the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Hobby Lobby, two thirds of female voters reported that they wanted the crafts store to lose its case. And polling in specific states, like Colorado and North Carolina, has found that most voters are less likely to support candidates who want to restrict access to affordable contraception. Both of those states are facing upcoming Senate races that outside observers predict may hinge on issues related to reproductive rights.
It’s obviously too early to tell exactly how much impact the Hobby Lobby decision will have on the midterm elections, but it’s clear that Democrats are looking to make it a key issue. Senate Democrats have already attempted to pass a potential legislative fix for the recent court ruling, an effort that was quickly blocked by their GOP colleagues. Meanwhile, Republican strategists are trying to counter the party’s “War on Women” image, instructing candidates to avoid ever saying the word “rape” and to reframe women’s health issues in terms of osteoporosis and breast cancer.
Some GOP candidates have already run into tight spots attempting to avoid going on the record as supporting Hobby Lobby. Scott Brown, who is running for a Senate seat in New Hampshire, reportedly “took shelter in the bathroom” last week to avoid answering a reporter’s questions about his opinion on the Supreme Court’s ruling.