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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