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Elections & Politics

Polling Shows Women’s Health Issues Played Significant Role in Swaying Key Voters to Obama

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 12.05.12
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Organizations Successfully Educated Voters About Romney’s Dangerous Positions on Birth Control, Abortion, 
Planned Parenthood Funding

WASHINGTON — New polling released today shows that positions on women’s health espoused by Mitt Romney and many Republican candidates were out of step with the majority of voters — especially key voting groups, including African Americans, Latinos, Independents, and unmarried women — cost those Republicans in the election. The polling sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and state legislatures all around the country that voters — women and other key voting groups — do not want politicians to meddle in their personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril.
 
The polls, conducted the week of November 6 by Hart Research Associates and Lake Research Partners, demonstrate that Planned Parenthood Action Fund and allies were highly successful in educating key voters about Romney’s agenda to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v. Wade — ending safe and legal abortion — with nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed reporting they had learned about his positions on Planned Parenthood and 55 percent reporting they had learned about his position on abortion. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
 
“Women’s health issues not only played a central role in the campaign — they played a decisive role in the voting booth, motivating many Americans to pull the lever for President Obama,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Throughout the campaign, our goal was to educate women voters about where the candidates stood on the health issues important to them and their families — clearly, voters heard our message loud and clear. These results should be enlightening to future candidates:  the growing American electorate views access to safe and legal abortion, federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care and affordable birth control as key issues when they go to the voting booth.”   
 
 
Among the poll’s key findings:
  • -62 percent of all voters disagreed with Romney’s position to end funding for Planned Parenthood’s health services, including 66 percent of women voters.
  • -61 percent of all voters (including 63 percent of women voters) disagreed with Romney’s position to overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • -64 percent of all voters (including 69 percent of women voters) reported that they saw, heard, or read something about Romney’s position to end funding for Planned Parenthood health services.
Romney’s positions on women’s health issues hurt him with key electoral groups, many of whom comprise a growing and increasingly influential portion of the electorate:
  • -Independents said that because of the candidates’ positions on abortion, they were more likely to vote for Obama over Romney by 30 points. They also preferred Obama on the issue of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, with nearly half (48 percent) of Independents saying they were more likely to vote for Obama.
  • -Latinos were more likely to support Obama for his views on access to affordable birth control (64 percent), abortion (65 percent), and federal funding for Planned Parenthood (60 percent).
  • -African Americans were more likely to support Obama for his views on access to affordable birth control (63 percent), abortion (62 percent), and federal funding for Planned Parenthood (71 percent).

Planned Parenthood Action Fund identified more than one million undecided women voters in key states that were likely to be swayed by pro-women’s health messages, and launched a multi-layered effort to connect with them. These voters recognize affordable and accessible health care and birth control as economic issues, or believe that the Republican Party platform is overreaching when it comes to overturning Roe v. Wade and limiting access to safe and legal abortion. Planned Parenthood advocacy organizations ran TV ads in five swing states, sent more than three million pieces of mail, and made more than 3.9 million phone calls. 

A post-election report from the Sunlight Foundation on big winners and losers found that the Action Fund had a 98 percent return on investment — having supported 11 winning candidates and opposed 11 losing candidates. It also found that of the $5 million that Planned Parenthood Votes — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Super PAC — spent, 98.5 percent went to races where it got the result it wanted. More than any of the other 30 groups measured by Sunlight, the two organizations had the best returns.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.