If the rhetoric isn’t working in one of the bluest of blue states, how much hope does it have in the rest of the nation?
[Scott] Brown’s continued strength in Massachusetts should alarm Democrats banking on demonizing those on the right as complicit in a “war on women.” Even many voters in the bluest-of-blue state of Massachusetts aren’t buying this line.
Independent Women’s Voice led an independent expenditure ahead of the special election in 2010 to redefine the Brown-Coakley contest as a consequential event deciding the fate of federal legislation on health care and “the critical 41st Senate vote.” And now, in a poll of 505 likely voters in Massachusetts, conducted by the polling company™ and IWV finds Brown now leads 47 percent to 39 percent, while 12 percent of respondents remain undecided. Asked to recall their voting preferences from one month ago, 43 percent said they had supported Brown compared with 34 percent who had supported Warren.
The problem? The Democrats are preaching to the choir:
Yet Massachusetts voters who bought this claim were essentially those who already supported Warren or would eventually come around to her regardless. Even more troublingly for Warren and Democrats who see this war-0n-women rhetoric as the path to victory, the mandate debate appears to have given more of a boost to Brown than to Warren.
More than half of those who have increased support for Brown in the past month say the health care, birth control mandate debate influenced their vote “a great deal” or “some” compared with only 39 percent of those who recently increased support for Elizabeth Warren.
Brown has to be careful, though:
Sen. Brown and other Republicans should note, however, the importance of properly framing this debate. Fifty percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who says: “It’s wrong for government to compel people to violate their religious beliefs” (compared with 30 percent who’d be less likely). Yet 49 percent of surveyed Massachusetts voters would be more likely to vote for someone who “would require religious organizations and employers, even those who have religious objections, to pay for health care plans which include providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception” (compared with 33 percent who would be less likely).
Those seemingly contradictory statements suggest that mandate opponents win by casting the discussion in terms of government interference with religious freedom, while liberals gain by focusing on the benefits provided.
That’s actually how most conservatives (including myself) have been explaining this issue; the government doesn’t have the authority to compel a person or business to violate their religious beliefs.
One could say the Obama Administration is waging a war on religion and be more correct than saying that the GOP is waging a war on women… and probably get better results, because the evidence is clear.