How Hobby Lobby Could Make Electoral Gender Gap Wider

When the Hobby Lobby ruling came down a few weeks ago, I quickly pointed out that this could be a boon to Democrats in this year’s midterm elections. A new poll provides support for that claim, showing a significant majority of women less likely to support someone who supported Hobby Lobby’s position in the case.

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…

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.

If the Democrats aren’t rushing to take advantage of this, especially in states with close Senate races and women on the ballot, they’re being foolish. This should be turned into a huge issue in November.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Trebuchet

    But those women are all sluts who shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Just like the founders intended. Some of them probably aren’t even white! (/snark)

  • raven

    A woman voting for the GOP is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

  • Chris J

    The Republican party has been in the news so often for huge gaffs and political blundering, it’s amazing there isn’t already a huge shift away from them. Lots of people just don’t pay that much attention to politics… I guess all I can hope for is that the divide between the Tea Party and the rest of the right wing keeps widening, the extremists splinter off and fade away, and we’re left with a much more moderate field.

  • D. C. Sessions

    It’s a very good thing that the media coverage of Republican primary campaigns has put all of the candidates solidly on the record WRT Hobby Lobby.

  • cycleninja

    Regrettably, the woman running for Tom Harkin’s senate seat here in Iowa is a Republican loon.

  • cycleninja

    And no sooner do I type my previous entry than I get this on my Facebook feed:

  • Sili

    If the Democrats aren’t rushing to take advantage of this, especially in states with close Senate races and women on the ballot, they’re being foolish.

    When did you last see a Democrat not be foolish?

    They’ll take the pro-abortion vote for granted and go out of their way to court Republans. They have plenty of time to snap defeat from the jaws of certain victory. Again.

  • Melvosh

    Terri Lynn Land is running for a US Senate seat from Michigan. She wants to defund the ACA, only supports abortions where the mother’s life is in imminent danger, does not support government funding of abortions, and doesn’t think women want to earn as much money as men for the same job. I can’t fathom what women would vote for her.

  • Michael Heath

    Melvosh writes:

    I can’t fathom what women would vote for [Terri Land].

    I can’t fathom how any full-grown woman would be a congregant at a conservative Christian church or a Catholic church. But last I knew, they represent the majority of asses in the pews.

  • jesse

    @Melvosh/ Michael Heath —

    It’s not so mysterious. There are real tangible benefits for many (largely working class) women in those churches. I’m talking about the food bank, or the willingness of another churchgoer to take the kids for a couple of hours, even day care of a sort in some cases. Alex Gabriel write about this a while back, and he noted that it wasn’t like there are a ton of secular organizations that offer this kind of stuff. Yes, there are (fewer and fewer) government avenues, but anyone who has dealt with a government bureaucracy knows that it isn’t a touchy-feely experience.

    Which is another big part of it. Humans being social creatures, being right (in a factual sense) is often less important than being liked — or at least feeling that you are, feeling part of a community. And that means stupid shit like having someone to complain to on the phone and hearing a real voice, having friends, having someone to get drunk with or any number of no-so-rational but necessary bits to human existence.

    Do atheists and other folks offer that? Sure, but the sense I get is that the outreach is piss-poor, especially in working class areas. You can’t just say “there is no god” and leave it at that, or tell people the churches are bad because X, especially if it’s an issue that people haven’t confronted directly or came to a different conclusion about at a time of great personal stress.

    Politically speaking I’d say you can’t call churchgoers ignorant rubes and expect that to be a sell, you know? And I see that implication all too often here, and while I understand where it comes from I try not to use it anymore.

    Once again, I’ll say to look up Dave Neiwert’s blog — there’s a really good set of posts there that talk about reaching out to people in right wing authoritarian communities. I know that reading these made me rethink how I approach people and whether or not I judge them, and how I do. This is especially true when speaking of marginalized groups (women in this case) who seem to join churches that will act against their self-interest. The posts here are geared to more militia- and cult-type stuff, but it applies to churches like the ones you describe as well.