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Elections & Politics

New Polling Shows Strong Support in Key States for Continued Federal Funding of Planned Parenthood’s Services

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 03.04.11

New poll results from 10 key states show clear opposition to recent efforts to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in federally funded initiatives.  The 95-year-old organization provides a range of preventive health services through Medicaid and other federal programs.  In addition to family planning, those services include lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, testing for HIV and testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections.

The new poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, surveyed voters in 10 states:  Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  Besides highlighting Planned Parenthood’s vital role as a health care provider, the findings show that senators supporting efforts to defund the organization will face political backlash at home.

“Poll after poll shows that Americans across the country support Planned Parenthood and oppose efforts to cut off the critical preventive health services we provide,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  “In the two weeks since the House voted to bar Planned Parenthood from any federal program, hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country have spoken out, called and e-mailed their members of Congress, told their personal stories online, and signed Planned Parenthood’s petition opposing that vote.  Americans, especially women, have risen to Planned Parenthood’s defense in an incredible and overwhelming way.”

Highlights from the poll results:

• 57 percent of voters across the 10 states oppose barring Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds, to only 36 percent who support  such a move.  Significantly, pivotal independent voters stand against that potential action by a 56/37 margin, and there are twice as many Republicans (41 percent) who oppose barring funding as there are Democrats (20 percent) who support it.

• There is little support for barring Planned Parenthood’s federal funding in any of the individual states surveyed.  Support goes as low as 27 percent (Massachusetts) and doesn’t rise higher than 43 percent (Missouri and Arkansas) in any of the states.  The states polled represent a cross section of the country from red to blue on the political spectrum, and in none of them is there a desire to inhibit the work for which Planned Parenthood receives federal funds.

• 52 percent of voters in these 10 states say they would be less likely to support their senator in a future election if he/she voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds.  Only 30 percent would be more likely to support a candidate who votes to bar federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  The independent voters whose preferences frequently make the difference in close elections match the numbers of the overall electorate almost identically — 51 percent would be less inclined to support a senator who voted against Planned Parenthood.

• When voters are aware of some of the specific health services Planned Parenthood provides with federal money, voters oppose barring funding even more strenuously:

  • 64 percent oppose efforts to bar funding for Planned Parenthood’s screenings for breast cancer and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • 63 percent oppose barring funds for Planned Parenthood’s screenings for cervical cancer.
  • 61 percent oppose barring funds for supplying of birth control.

The Public Policy Polling findings are in line with two new public polls released this week, one by NBC/Wall Street Journal and another by Quinnipiac University.

The Quinnipiac poll found that voters opposed “cutting off federal government funding to Planned Parenthood” by a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent.

The poll also found that 50 percent of Independent voters, as well as 66 percent of voters aged 18–34, and 60 percent of “moderate” voters opposed “cutting off federal government funding to Planned Parenthood.”

Read the full Quinnipiac poll HERE.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also released today found that 53 percent of Americans found it “mostly or totally unacceptable” to “eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning and preventive health services.” 

Among women overall, 56 percent found it “mostly or totally unacceptable” to “eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning and preventive health services.”

Read the full poll HERE. (Planned Parenthood question on page 16). 

The Public Policy Polling poll was commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and conducted February 23 and 24:  793 Alaska voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-3.5 percent, 569 Arkansas voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percent, 560 Illinois voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percent, 588 Maine voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent, 545 Massachusetts voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.2 percent, 752 Missouri voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-3.6 percent, 666 Montana voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-3.8 percent, 630 Nebraska voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-3.9 percent, 612 Pennsylvania voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent, and 503 West Virginia voters were surveyed with a margin of error of +/-4.4 percent.

For the aggregate results of the poll, click HERE.

For the complete polling memo, click HERE.

Specific state-by-state numbers are below.

Alaska
• 58 percent of Alaska voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 50 percent of Alaska voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Arkansas
• 49 percent of Arkansas voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 45 percent of Arkansas voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Illinois 
• 53 percent of Illinois voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 47 percent of Illinois voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Maine 
• 66 percent of Maine voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 61 percent of Maine voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Massachusetts 
• 67 percent of Massachusetts voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 61 percent of Massachusetts voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Missouri 
• 50 percent of Missouri voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 46 percent of Missouri voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Montana 
• 63 percent of Montana voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 58 percent of Montana voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Nebraska 
• 51 percent of Nebraska voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 45 percent of Nebraska voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

Pennsylvania
• 60 percent of Pennsylvania voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 55 percent of Pennsylvania voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

West Virginia
• 53 percent of West Virginia voters oppose barring federal funds for Planned Parenthood health centers.
• 51 percent of West Virginia voters would be less likely to vote for a senator in the next election if the senator voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for preventive care.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.