Planned Parenthood was a favorite target for GOP attacks in Thursday night’s Republican debates. Candidates focused on the untrue claim that Planned Parenthood’s program donating tissue from aborted fetuses to medical research equals “selling aborted baby parts,” plus their general opposition to abortion rights and women’s reproductive health care, to say Planned Parenthood should be investigated and defunded.
The GOP is counting on anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric to paper over their support for policies that would hurt lower and middle-class Americans for the benefit of the wealthy. But even if that works in Republican primaries, polling shows they’d be wise to back off if they want to have any hope of winning the general election.
A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Planned Parenthood has much higher favorability than all of the leading Republican candidates for president: 15 percent to 5 percent for John Kasich, the most favorably-viewed candidate. Donald Trump was least favorably-viewed, with 30 percent more of those polled reporting a negative view than a positive one.
The Democratic presidential candidates are also less popular than Planned Parenthood, but they have defended the women’s health organization from the latest round of attacks from the right. Bernie Sanders had the higher net favorability, 5 percent to Hillary Clinton’s negative 11 percent. This poll shows they could have even more to gain by continuing to stand with Planned Parenthood.