POLITICS

Planned Parenthood Is More Popular Than Any Presidential Candidate

Or the NRA.

Despite weeks of intense scrutiny, Planned Parenthood is still more popular than the National Rifle Association, the Supreme Court, both political parties, every presidential candidate and President Barack Obama, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday.

Across party lines, Planned Parenthood's favorability rating is 45 percent -- just higher than the NRA's 43 percent. Thirty percent of poll respondents view the family planning provider negatively, compared to 32 percent for the nation's largest gun rights lobby. 

In order of net favorability (favorable minus unfavorable), Planned Parenthood and the NRA are followed by the Supreme Court (39 percent to 32 percent), Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (24 percent to 19 percent), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (14 percent to 9 percent), a Republican candidate for president. Obama has a 44 percent favorability rating, but almost an equally high disapproval rating at 43 percent. 

At the bottom of the list are the Republican Party and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The GOP's approval rating is 28 percent to 44 percent, and Trump's bottoms out at 26 percent favorable to 56 percent unfavorable. 

The poll results show sharp differences among Republican and Democratic respondents. While 69 percent of Democrats view Planned Parenthood favorably, only 23 percent of Republicans approve of the family planning provider. Favorability among independents is more positive than negative by a split of 45 percent to 25 percent. 

The poll results were released the same day that Senate Republicans tried to vote on a bill that would have stripped family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. Democrats filibustered the legislation, but Republicans are threatening a government shutdown fight in the fall over funding for the provider.

The GOP has been trying to defund Planned Parenthood for years, but this latest effort is tied to a series of undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the sale of fetal body parts after abortion.

Planned Parenthood claims that it donates fetal tissue after abortions at the request of the patient and does not make a profit from the donations. The full, unedited videos show the doctors saying multiple times that the provider's affiliates are not interested in illegally selling fetal tissue. 

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards warned Republicans in a statement that attacking her organization may not be a smart political move, considering its popularity. "It’s time the far right came to terms with political reality: attacks on women’s health are deeply unpopular, and put millions of lives at risk," she said. "The American people stand with Planned Parenthood."

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