It Turns Out Voters in Battleground States Really Like Planned Parenthood

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) has been a vocal critic of Planned Parenthood, and “has shown support for defunding the organization or opposition to continued funding in at least six votes,” though some of them were procedural, according to PolitiFact.

Running on a platform that includes defunding Planned Parenthood may be a losing strategy for some Senate candidates in battleground states, according to new polling.

Public Policy Polling released the results of a poll Thursday that asked voters in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania about their views on Planned Parenthood and whether they would support candidates who have vowed to “defund” the health-care organization.

The majority of respondents in each of these states said they viewed Planned Parenthood positively, and at least 50 percent of those polled in each state said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who would “defund” the provider.

The states featured in the poll, which was conducted September 13-14, are home to contentious battles for seats in the U.S. Senate. Several of the Senate contests have been centered on reproductive rights as a key issue for voters. The Senate races highlighted by Public Policy Polling are included in data analytics site FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast as states with a high “tipping-point chance” of determining which party will control the Senate after voters take to the ballot box in November.

In New Hampshire, where reproductive rights have been a sticking point for Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) in her bid for reelection against Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan, 63 percent of voters said that they viewed Planned Parenthood in a positive light.

The poll found that 55 percent of New Hampshire voters indicated they were less likely to back candidates who wanted to defund the provider, while 49 percent said they were less likely to back Ayotte due to her record on the issue.

Ayotte has been a vocal critic of Planned Parenthood, and “has shown support for defunding the organization or opposition to continued funding in at least six votes,” though some of them were procedural, according to PolitiFact.

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) has also faced criticism for his opposition to abortion rights and repeated attempts to defund Planned Parenthood in his open-seat race against Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. While half of those polled said they were less likely to back a candidate who supported defunding Planned Parenthood, 49 percent of respondents said Heck’s record on the issue made it less likely they would vote for him.

Sixty-five percent of voters in Nevada said they viewed Planned Parenthood positively.

Though incumbent North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr has been an ardent anti-choice voice in the Senate, 66 percent of those polled in his state said they viewed Planned Parenthood positively. Burr has voted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times, even backing attempts to defund Planned Parenthood last year at the risk of a federal government shutdown.

Fifty-six percent of voters said they were less likely to vote for Burr after hearing about his record on defunding the health-care organization. 

Voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, with 57 percent and 54 percent responding this way, respectively. 

These findings come almost exactly a year after some congressional Republicans attempted to use the federal budget to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, risking a government shutdown in the process.

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