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Vulnerable Republican representatives at risk of losing seats in 2018 if they repeal ACA and “defund” Planned Parenthood

Washington, DC -- Today, thirteen new surveys released from Public Policy Polling show that the majority of voters in key swing districts support the Affordable Care Act and oppose efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood. Additionally, the new polling shows that voters in these key districts are less likely to support vulnerable Members of Congress who attack Planned Parenthood.

Public Policy Polling polled registered voters in thirteen Congressional districts: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), David Valadao (CA-21), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Peter Roskam (IL-6), John Faso (NY-19), Martha McSally (AZ-2), Patrick Meehan (PA-7), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Erik Paulsen (MN-3), Mike Coffman (CO-6), and Kevin Yoder (KS-3). All 13 members represent key swing districts and are electorally vulnerable. All 13 have either stated that they are undecided on or opposed to the unpopular ACA repeal.

In addition, Public Policy Polling conducted statewide surveys in Nevada and Arizona. Overall in Nevada, 60% of voters oppose “defunding” Planned Parenthood, and the majority of voters are less likely to support an elected official who would “defund” Planned Parenthood. Across Arizona, 56% of voters oppose “defunding” Planned Parenthood. The majority of Arizona voters are also less likely to support an elected official who would “defund” Planned Parenthood.

The results of this poll show that beyond Election Day, voters are more likely to get involved with grassroots activities in opposition to attempts to target Planned Parenthood. In fact, 50% of voters across the 13 districts say they are more likely to get involved in grassroots efforts specifically because of Trump’s attacks on Planned Parenthood, women’s health, and equal pay protections.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is running new TV ads in 6 of the swing districts. The TV ads highlight the patients that rely on Planned Parenthood, and hold elected officials accountable to patients. These ads are running in the districts of Representatives Curbelo, Meehan, McSally, Issa, Coffman, and Roskam.

Statement from Tom Jensen, Director of Public Policy Polling:

These results make it clear that targeting Planned Parenthood – or trying to replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act more generally – is politically perilous for these swing district Republican members of Congress. Voters in these districts like Planned Parenthood, they like the Affordable Care Act, and efforts to hurt those things will imperil the Republicans in these districts as they look toward reelection next year.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

It is incredibly unpopular for politicians to block women from accessing birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. Not only that, it is an issue that moves voters and makes them more likely to get involved in grassroots activity. Congress would do right to listen to its constituents and reject efforts to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood.

You can find the polling memo Public Policy Polling HERE, and the aggregate toplines HERE.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • 59% of voters in these swing congressional districts are opposed to “defunding” Planned Parenthood, while only 35% support “defunding.”

  • 54% of voters say they’re less likely to support their member of Congress if they support “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

  • A big part of why defunding Planned Parenthood is such a political liability is that the health care organization is popular in these districts – 57% of voters have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood.

  • 50% of voters across the 13 districts say attempts to target Planned Parenthood make them more likely to get involved in grassroots actions.

  • The Affordable Care Act is popular across these districts, with 53% of voters supporting it. Meanwhile there continues to be minimal support for the American Health Care Act – just 31% of voters support it.

This is only the latest poll that shows blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular.

20 national polls all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that 80% of American voters are opposed to “defunding” Planned Parenthood when they understand that it means blocking patents who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive and essential health care. That follows a PerryUndem poll that show 74% of voters – including 57% of Trump voters – oppose actions that would prohibit women with low incomes from accessing birth control, well-woman care, and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

People are taking notice:

The Hill reports: “The majority of voters in 13 Republican-held districts oppose defunding Planned Parenthood and the GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill, a new poll released first to The Hill shows….54 percent said they are less likely to vote for their GOP congressman who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, compared to 30 percent who said they would be more likely to support them.”

The Chicago Sun Times reports: “Planned Parenthood on Tuesday released a poll and TV ad aimed at putting pressure on Rep. Peter Roskam — who is already being targeted by Democrats as a vulnerable Republican in a district that favored Hillary Clinton for president….The poll also sought to learn whether Trump’s proposed actions to defund Planned Parenthood made them more likely to participate in grassroots activity: 51 percent said they were more likely; 26 percent said they were less likely; 22 percent said it didn’t make a difference and 1 percent said they were not sure."

According to Colorado Politics: “A Democratic polling firm and Planned Parenthood have a message for Rep. Mike Coffman: 58 percent of the voters in the 6th Congressional District don’t want him to cut funds for Planned Parenthood.

The Albany Times-Union reports: “Also similar is opposition to defunding of Planned Parenthood. The PPP poll shows that 62 percent of 19th district voters oppose such a move... Fifty-seven percent of 19th district voters said they would be less likely to support Faso if he was on board with defunding Planned Parenthood.”