04/02/2012 05:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Republicans Alienating Both Men and Women on Birth Control

It's a mistake to assume birth control is solely a "woman's issue." As others have pointed out (even Rush!), men participate in birth control, too. And as I've written before, nearly every gender/party group supports full coverage of birth control. Now polling released today by USA Today/Gallup confirms recent Republican missteps threaten to damage them with voters of both genders. While women are more interested in the issue, both men and women disagree with Santorum's and Romney's position. (Gender and gender/age breakouts kindly provided by the good folks at Gallup.)

Women are more interested in the issue of birth control. A majority (55 percent) of women and only 35 percent of men say "government policies concerning birth control" is either extremely or very important to them. Similarly, two-thirds of women (68 percent) and fewer men (59 percent) say they are following recent birth control debate very or somewhat closely. There are more age differences among women than among men. Younger women are particularly likely to say birth control issues are important, older women are most likely to say they are following the issue closely.

But disagreement with the GOP field on birth control transcends gender and age. Gallup/USA Today asked respondents whether they agree or disagree with each candidate's position on birth control. Across all gender/age groups, more disagree with Santorum's and Romney's position than agree. In fact, aside from older men (see below), the differences between the other groups are not so stark. This "agreement gap" spells trouble for the eventual Republican nominee. And not just with women.

While agreement with the President also transcends gender and age (mostly). By contrast, more agree with the President's position than disagree. Only older men are more likely to disagree, and as the table below shows, older men also disagree with the Republican field.


Large numbers don't know where the candidates stand. Irrespective of gender and age, majorities (or near-majorities) don't know enough about the candidates' position on birth control to know whether they agree with them or not. This is a reminder of how much work is needed to highlight the sharp contrast between the President's position and that of the GOP field.