Poll: Majority Don’t See Loss of Liberty in Obama Contraception Rules
Bad news for the GOP on the religious liberty vs. contraception debate: Americans aren’t buying what you are selling.
A new Public Religion Research Institute poll released yesterday—which was done in partnership with Religion News Service—found that a majority (56 percent) of Americans do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today. Even worse for the right: A majority of Catholics (57 percent) and independents (58 percent) do not view Obama’s contraception mandate for religiously affiliated institutions as an infringement on religious liberty.
They are also losing on the key argument of the GOP, led by superstar Senator Marco Rubio: that religiously affiliated institutions should have the same protections as churches. PRRI’s chief executive, Dr. Robert P. Jones, told me, “Americans do believe that churches are special. There is no demographic that thinks that churches should be required to [provide contraception]. But a majority of Americans and Catholics continue to think religiously affiliated institutions should be required to cover birth control with no cost.”
The raging public debate and drumbeat from Republicans that Obama is infringing on religious liberty has been largely ignored. Says Jones, “There hasn’t been much of a change since our last poll. The numbers have been consistent. The bigger picture is most Americans and Catholics just aren’t connecting dots between the threat to religious liberty and the contraception debate.”
The GOP seems to be appreciating the lack of traction their arguments are getting and that they may actually be backfiring by alienating independent voters, who make up one-third of the electorate. On the Hill, House Republicans have backed off their efforts to overturn the rule mandating that health-insurance companies provide women working for religiously affiliated institutions with free contraception.