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Polls Show Religious Liberty Issue Hasn't Gone Away

A look behind recent polls shows that in spite of a concerted effort by liberal pundits to change the narrative on the HHS mandate from one of religious liberty to one of women's health, the public just isn't buying it.

James Taranto, writing for the Wall Street Journal, takes a look behind recent polls and finds that even after the much-publicized flap over Sandra Fluke's testimony about the high cost of birth control, Americans remain less than convinced that the issue is about women's health rather than religious liberty.

In one poll, taken before Fluke's testimony, 23 percent of Americans said it was a religious freedom issue with almost the exact same number - 24 percent - saying it was about women's rights. Twenty-six percent said both issues were at play. Catholics and independents broke down at roughly the same margins, but those all-important independent women voters were actually more inclined to believe it was at least partly a matter of religious freedom with 22 percent saying religious liberty, 23 percent saying women's rights, and 32 percent saying both.

The Journal also reported on a survey taken during the Fluke affair which found surprisingly similar results.

Overall, the poll found wide support for the President's plan to require most employers to cover contraception in their health-care plans, with 53 percent supporting the idea and 33 percent opposing it. However, when asked if religious organizations should be forced to provide this insurance, support dropped sharply to just 38 percent.

Taranto points out another telling result in the poll.

"Each of the questions was asked two ways: with and without mention that the mandate includes 'the morning after pill' (the pollsters did not use the word 'abortifacient'). The 53 percent to 33 percent figure is for the version of the question without the morning-after pill; with it, support drops to 43 percent, with 43 percent opposed. Likewise, when the morning-after pill was mentioned in the question about applying the mandate to Catholic and other religious institutions, support for the mandate dropped further, to 34 percent from 38 percent."

He concludes: "In other words, the less you know about the ObamaCare mandate, the more likely you are to support it. Being informed of two salient facts--that it includes the morning-after pill and that it is imposed on religious institutions--is enough to sway just under 1 in 5 voters from support to opposition."

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