Polling Planned Parenthood
11:09 AM, Apr 12, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
These are rather astonishing results--they actually show higher support for Planned Parenthood than an intentionally skewed poll, commissioned by Planned Parenthood, did.* As Politico reported recently:
If you front-load a poll with the right information, you can show pretty much any political candidate winning office. (I recall John Kerry's 2008 Republican opponent, who ended up losing by 35 points, did something like this in one poll.) So the PPP poll, purchased by Planned Parenthood, shows that if you inform respondents of Planned Parenthood's popular services, funding is quite popular. It's surprising that the CNN poll, which provides no information other than the name of Planned Parenthood, shows even higher support.
But how different would those results be if voters knew the basic fact that Planned Parenthood performs abortions? In all likelihood, the numbers would drop like a rock. Here's a Washington Post/ABC poll taken during the 2009 health care debate:
CNN's new poll also finds that 35% of Americans are "in favor of using public funds for abortions when the woman cannot afford it." And a Gallup poll in 2009 found that (you guessed it) 35% of Americans favor "allowing funding for overseas family planning groups that provide abortions."
It seems to me that Gallup's phrasing, without the word "overseas," would be the fairest way to poll the Planned Parenthood issue. The whole debate is not about whether federal family planning money should be "entirely eliminated"--or even reduced. It's about whether or not groups that perform abortions should receive government subsidies.
*Update: A March 3 Quinnipiac poll of registered voters asked: "Do you support or oppose cutting off federal government funding to Planned Parenthood?" The results: 43% favored cuts and 53% opposed cuts.
And a poll conducted by Pulse Opinion Research for The Hill found much more mixed views:
CNN's poll was of American adults, while The Hill's poll was of likely voters, so that may explain some of the difference.