Steve Benen thinks the Hobby Lobby case may be an electoral problem for Republicans this November:
GOP lawmakers and their allies are clearly delighted today, basking in the glow of victory….The trouble is, the American mainstream and GOP policymakers really aren’t on the same page. The latest national polling reinforces the fact that most of the country wanted today’s ruling to go the other way.
….Watching Republican-appointed justices to limit contraception access, while Republican lawmakers cheer them on, may be just what Democratic campaign officials needed.
This is based on the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, which does indeed show a majority of Americans opposed to the prospect of employers deciding which contraceptives their health plan covers:
Unfortunately, I don’t think this poll demonstrates much immediate danger for Republicans. Sure, the liberal position has majority approval, but 53-35 percent isn’t a huge margin in these kinds of polls. You really need to see upwards of a 70 percent consensus before the danger lights start to flash, and in some cases (such as gun control) even that’s not enough. What’s more, there’s also the question of intensity. The Reuters poll doesn’t get at this (polls rarely do), but if I had to guess, I’d say the 53 percent who take the liberal position don’t feel all that strongly about it. Their votes won’t swing based on this issue, whereas many of the 35 percent who take the conservative position will indeed vote based on it.
Still, although this specific case may not really pose much of an electoral threat to Republicans, it does add another log to the “war on women” bonfire. Conservatives are desperate to argue that this is a myth; that it doesn’t matter; that it’s really liberals who hate women; etc. etc. But I think the evidence is pretty strong that, in fact, this really is a growing problem for Republicans. At the moment, it’s more a national problem than a local one, but that could change as the bonfire grows. And the Hobby Lobby case will add some fuel to the fire.