The Twenty Percent Solution

Faux News has a curious headline for the results of Gallup’s newest poll.

Poll: Birth control not a top election issue for US voters

As is clear immediately, however, Fox’s assessment of the results depends significantly on how they define the word “top”:

Voters in the US say health care, unemployment, the federal deficit, international issues and gas prices will help influence their decision ahead of the presidential election — but just one in five thinks birth control policies are an important factor, a Gallup poll out Monday found.

The poll also saw President Barack Obama record his biggest lead yet over Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney after voters were asked who they would vote for were an election held today.

If twenty percent of voters think birth control policies are an important factor in who they vote for, that is a big deal. Especially given that only a few months ago, virtually nobody was considering birth control issues when choosing their candidate.   Also, if you click over to the Gallup poll itself, you find that 20% of voters identified birth control as “extremely important”, another 24% as “very important” and another 28% as “somewhat important”.   Yes, those results were significantly lower than those who identified “health care” as important, but as we all now know, health care and birth control are not mutually exclusive issues.

More interesting is the polling on how voters view the candidates on the birth control issue.  Significant percentages of voters, whether Democratic, Republican or Independent indicated that they didn’t know enough to say whether they approved or disapproved of the candidates’ positions on birth control.  I imagine one of President Obama’s strategies this summer/fall will be to ensure that more Americans come to know his rivals’ views on the subject.

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  • mike

    Also known as the “rope-a-dope” strategy. You extend your opponent enough rope to hang himself, and hope that he does. In the case of the GOP and (insert a social/moral issue), this is relatively easy.

    • http://poisonyourmind.com dedc79

      Next, I’m hoping obama will say something about the importance of placing young children in car seats.

      • mike

        You saw the debacle over the Federal school lunch standards a few months ago, right? Somehow, suggesting that the money that the government gives to schools to feed their students should be used to buy more vegetables, and less junk, puts us even further down the slippery slope to tyrannical man-on-dog socialism.

        • http://poisonyourmind.com dedc79

          Yeah, which reminds me – the only thing more effective at riling up the crazies than President Obama promoting some initiative is Michelle Obama doing it.

  • brucetheeconomist

    Of course I don’t think anyone is running against birth control, just it being required to be paid for by employers. Though I think Santourum might push us all on the rythm method if he could.

    • http://poisonyourmind.com dedc79

      Santorum’s been hard to pin down on this issue. The fact that the GOP’s first target is coverage of birth control through insurance, doesn’t mean they don’t have even more significant steps in mind.