My favorite liberal pro-abort columnist, Mickey Kaus, is a very honest man, and will never let his ideology stand in the way of a keen analysis of the events of the day. That is one of the reasons why I stop by each day to read his Kaus Files. The other reasons are that he is witty and concise. Here is his take on a recent poll in the New York Times:
Here’s what the NYT‘s story on its latest poll told readers:
In recent weeks, there has been much debate over the government’s role in guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception, including for those who work for religious organizations. The poll found that women were split as to whether health insurance plans should cover the costs of birth control and whether employers with religious objections should be able to opt out. [E.A.]
If the Times says women were “split,” you know that must mean they were actually narrowly against the NYT‘s preferred position. Sure enough, when asked, “Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employers be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?” women favored opting out by a 46-44 margin. The margin increased to a decisive 53-38 for “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university.”
That’s among women. Unbeknownst to those who read only the Times‘ main story, the poll asked the same question to men. They were not split. Men favored opting out by a 20 point margin (57 vs. 37), except when a “religiously affiliated employer” was involved, in which case the margin increased to 25 points. Combining men and women, a substantial majority (51-40) favors allowing an opt-out–increasing to 57-36 where religiously-affiliated institutions are involved.
These are not close results. It’s hard to read this poll and not conclude that, contrary to some accounts, Obama wasn’t such a genius to pick a fight over mandated contraception coverage–because he appears to be losing the public debate on the question. That’s a conclusion the Times story effectively hides from readers.
It’s also one possible explanation for Obama’s otherwise somewhat mystifying overall drop in approval during the period–March 7-11–when the poll was in the field. But not an approved explanation.