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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Public Narrowly Opposes Planned Parenthood Funding Cut

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Most support fetal tissue research

West Long Branch, NJ  - The American public narrowly opposes cutting off federal funds to Planned Parenthood.  The Monmouth University Poll  found about half are aware of recent videos that supposedly show Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of fetal tissue, but most are unsure whether to believe that Planned Parenthood tries to make a profit from this practice.

Currently, 37% of Americans have a positive opinion of Planned Parenthood and 26% hold an unfavorable view.  Another 34% have no opinion.  Registered voter opinion stands at 38% favorable and 31% unfavorable.  This is less positive than public opinion three years ago, according to a 2012 Quinnipiac University Poll that found 55% of voters holding a favorable opinion to just 22% unfavorable.

About 4-in-10 (39%) Americans support cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while 49% oppose this.  Among registered voters, the gap is narrower - 42% support defunding and 47% do not.  The poll was conducted before the U.S. Senate unsuccessfully attempted to pass a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on Monday.  Support for defunding Planned Parenthood among registered voters has increased from the 31% who backed this cut in the February 2012 Quinnipiac poll although it is similar to the 43% result recorded in 2011.  A large majority of Republicans (66%) support defunding while a large majority of Democrats (68%) oppose it.  More independents oppose (50%) rather than support (36%) cutting off federal support for Planned Parenthood.

"The public opposes cuts to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, but not by the margin they did just a few years ago," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.  "The recent videos may have had an impact, but those who have been paying the most attention are mainly Republicans, who already had a negative opinion of the organization."

Nearly half of the public has seen or heard news about recently released videos that show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.  This includes 27% who have seen a lot about this and 21% who have seen a little.  Most (53%) have not heard about these videos.  Republicans (42%) are more likely than independents (26%) or Democrats (18%) to have seen a lot about this, while Democrats (62%) and independents (53%) are much more likely than Republicans (35%) to have heard nothing at all about these videos.

Among those who have seen or heard about the videos, 43% believe they are an accurate depiction of what occurred while 39% feel they were edited to make Planned Parenthood look bad.  Another 19% are unsure.  Republicans (69%) aware of the videos believe they are accurate while Democrats (62%) say they were selectively edited.  Aware independents are split - 43% say the videos were selectively edited to make Planned Parenthood look bad and 36% say they are accurate.

Among all Americans, regardless of whether they are aware of the videos, 28% believe that Planned Parenthood tries to make a profit from selling aborted fetal tissue to scientific labs, while 17% do not believe it.  Most (55%) are not sure what they believe about this.  A majority of Republicans (53%) believe that Planned Parenthood tries to make a profit, while 1-in-4 independents (27%) and just 1-in-8 Democrats (13%) feel the same. On the other hand, most Democrats (58%) and independents (58%) say they are unsure whether Planned Parenthood engages in this practice, while fewer Republicans (41%) express no opinion on this.

At the root of this issue is the use of fetal tissue to find cures for deadly diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  A majority (58%) of Americans support the use of fetal tissue from abortions for this type of research while 33% are opposed and 9% have no opinion.  Support levels today are slightly higher than 54% support for fetal tissue research measured in a national poll conducted in 2001 and slightly lower than 63% support measured back in 1992 ( source:  Belden Russonello).

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone from July 30 to August 2, 2015 with 1,203 adults in the United States.   This sample has a margin of error of ±  2.8 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.      Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Planned Parenthood, or do you have no opinion?

2.      Do you support or oppose cutting off federal government funding to Planned Parenthood? [Do you strongly or somewhat support/oppose that?]

3.      Do you agree or disagree that scientists should be able to use fetal tissue from abortions to find cures for deadly diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?  [Do you strongly or somewhat agree/disagree?]

4.      Have you seen or heard recent news about videos that supposedly show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of aborted fetus tissue, or not?  [If YES:  Have you heard a lot or just a little?]

[QUESTION 5 WAS ASKED OF THOSE WHO SAID “YES” to Q4, n=662, moe= +/-3.8%]

5.      Do you think these recently released videos were an accurate depiction of what happened - OR - were edited in a way to make Planned Parenthood look bad? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

6.      The videos suggest that Planned Parenthood tries to make a profit from selling tissue from aborted fetuses to scientific labs.  Do you believe or not believe that Planned Parenthood does that, or are you not sure?

 

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from July 30 to August 2, 2015 with a national random sample of 1,203 adults age 18 and older.  This includes 842 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 361 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute