Blog Post

Beware of Biased Polling on HHS Mandate!

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The public needs to be warned that some of the polls circulating these days alleging majority support among Americans and Catholics for the HHS mandate are actually from left-leaning pollsters, while polls from neutral pollsters - which show much different results - are being dismissed by the media.

A case in point is the most widely touted poll, one conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which found that most voters, including Catholics, actually support the mandate. According to Newbusters, what most newscasters are neglecting to tell the public is that the poll was commissioned by Planned Parenthood, an organization with a huge financial stake in increased contraception and abortifacient coverage.

Another salient fact being ignored by the media is the fact that PPP was founded and is still led by Democratic pollster Dean Debnam whose political contributions show a considerable Democratic bias.

When one takes out the bias from the polls, the results are often far different. For instance, PPP's polling found 53 percent of Catholics in support of the mandate, but a poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute found that almost the same number - 52 percent - opposed it.

Another poll, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, found that a majority of Americans are against the policy.

"Half of voters do not agree with the Obama administration’s action forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control measures that they morally oppose," reports Rasmussen.

The poll found that only 39 percent of likely voters believe the government should require a church or religious organization to provide contraceptives for women even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. Fifty percent (50%) disagree and oppose such a requirement that runs contrary to strong beliefs, while 10 percent are undecided.

Another faulty but often cited poll is one by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization founded by a former president of Planned Parenthood, which claims that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception. As the U.S. Bishops point out, this poll "mangles the data" and misrepresents the poll, which actually says that 98 percent of “sexually experienced” women use birth control.

"The more relevant statistic is that the drugs and devices subject to this mandate (sterilization, hormonal prescription contraceptives and IUDs) are used by 69 percent of those women who are 'sexually active' and 'do not want to become pregnant',” the bishops report.

When these facts are considered, it becomes clear that the women who will benefit from the mandate represent a minority of the population, which hardly justifies forcing everyone to pay for their pills.

Whenever one is presented with a poll, either take the time to find out who conducted and/or commissioned it, or ignore it. Otherwise, you're not being informed, you're being manipulated.

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