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.
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.