New Poll: Key Facts Dramatically Increase Public Support for Investigating and Defunding Planned Parenthood

By Dustin Siggins Published on December 17, 2015

A poll released Monday found majority support among Republicans, Democrats and independents for continuing to investigate Planned Parenthood after undercover videos showed that the abortion giant may have illegally profited from harvesting and selling the organs of aborted babies.

According to The Polling Company/Woman Trend, 68 percent of Americans — including 76 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Independents, and 64 percent of Democrats — “back continued investigations based on the video allegations.”

The poll was commissioned by the Center for Medical Progress, the investigative group that recorded and published undercover videos of senior Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of fetal body parts.

In a memo, The Polling Company said that 54 percent of respondents said they were “mostly negative” towards Planned Parenthood after hearing key facts: That it is “the nation’s largest abortion provider, receives a half billion dollars from the government each year, spends millions of dollars in partisan political activities and was recently exposed on video as bartering the cost of baby body parts and fetal tissue.”

While only 28 percent of Americans have seen the Center for Medical Progress’ videos, one in five of remaining Americans want to see them. Fifty-six percent of respondents “favor some sort of adjustment to Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding,” says the memo, with 27 percent backing a freeze on the abortion giant’s funding. Nearly one in five say the funding should end, and 10 percent support reducing funding.

The memo included strategic recommendations for social conservatives going into the 2016 election season. “This survey shows us that we should be bullish when talking about the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood. The facts, figure and fundamental truth about Planned Parenthood hurt them in the eyes of the public,” stresses the memo.

“When we communicate three basic truths about Planned Parenthood being the nation’s top abortion provider, that senior officials there have been shown on video to be discussing the harvesting and trafficking of aborted baby body parts, and engage in one-sided partisan electioneering, support for the organizations and their taxpayer funding tumbles.”

Tom McClusky, Vice President of Government Affairs for March for Life Action, told The Stream, “No one pays more attention to polls then politicians and especially Members of Congress — we’ll be working with other groups to share this with elected officials, especially members of the House to reinforce their dedication to the committees investigating the actions of the abortion industry and profiteering off of baby parts.”

According to McClusky, “most polls are driven by major media companies who are more sympathetic to the pro-abortion argument.” He urged “pro-life groups as well as individuals to support pro-life organizations who do polling so they can counter the false narrative that the people stand with abortion giant Planned Parenthood.”

Likewise, Senator James Lankford, R-OK, said, “When presented with the truth about Planned Parenthood, the American people agree that this organization doesn’t need taxpayer money.”

“In 2011, the Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and it came up 18 votes short. This year, the vote came up 5 votes short — this signifies a change in opinion of the American people, which is also reflected in these polls. Momentum is clearly on our side.”

Susan B. Anthony List Communications Director Mallory Quigley said that the RMU and Polling Company polls “make it clear that when Americans understand the full picture, they support rerouting public funds away from abortion businesses to comprehensive health care clinics.”

However, Real Clear Politics‘ Sean Trende was less sanguine. In an email to The Stream, Trende said he was “skeptical about a poll methodology that asks ‘fair’ questions that frame things in the way one group would prefer them to be framed. What those should be considered is a ‘best case’ scenario — in other words, what you can accomplish if the other side doesn’t run contrary ads and you are able to define the issue yourself.”

The Stream was not able to access the full set of questions asked of poll respondents, but the respondents’ negative outlook towards Planned Parenthood after framing information is similar to those seen in a Robert Morris University (RMU) poll released December 2. That poll found that 53 percent of Americans support defunding Planned Parenthood when asked the following question: “Congressional Republicans favor shifting Planned Parenthood federal funds to community clinics that perform the same services, but do not perform abortions. Would you say you support or oppose this plan?”

The RMU poll contrasted sharply with a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll highlighted by Newsbusters that found 58 percent of respondents’ opposed defunding Planned Parenthood when asked, “Do you think federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be eliminated — yes or no?”

RMU professor and pollster Philip Harold said in a press release that his poll’s question is “more accurate” than those asked by other pollsters, “because the wording of this poll reflects the actual proposal.”

“One of the cardinal rules in polling is to clearly indicate the alternative in the question, and a poll question that doesn’t do this is flawed,” said Harold.

Mallory told The Stream that “the pro-life legislative agenda has widespread support. It is a moral and political mistake for legislators and candidates to oppose the reallocation of public funds to places where women and girls can go to receive all of the preventative services Planned Parenthood does — and usually more — without ending the lives of babies on demand. Pro-life candidates should lay out this pro-life, pro-woman policy with confidence.”

“Stopping public funding for this profit-driven, abortion-centered business would be a pro-life victory on its own, as well as a major advancement in the national debate over the right to life of the unborn,” concluded Quigley.

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