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Burning Glass Research on Planned Parenthood


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Burning Glass Research on Planned Parenthood - September 2015

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Burning Glass Research on Planned Parenthood

  1. 1. September, 2015 Katie Gage Christine Matthews Ashley O’Connor PLANNED PARENTHOOD ATTITUDES OF KEY WOMEN VOTERS
  2. 2.  Burning Glass Consulting conducts on-going research with women voters, including: national and state polling, online discussions, focus groups, and panel research.  The volume of research we have done gives us a good understanding of how swing women and soft Republican women view Planned Parenthood.  We recently conducted a survey of 500 women in battleground states to measure awareness and impact of the Planned Parenthood videos.  On September 8th, we conducted focus groups with women from Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia. These women were Republicans or independents who were pro-choice or somewhat pro-life. 2 BACKGROUND
  3. 3.  For our recent survey of 500 women, we terminated any “Strong Democrats” and any “not strong Democrats” who favor abortion in all cases. We terminated any “Strong Republicans” who oppose abortion in all cases or whose only exception is to save the life of the mother.  Nearly all the women were from battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. 3 SURVEY METHODOLOGY Partisan Composition Age Composition Abortion Position 11% Strong Republican 15% 18-34 10% Illegal in all cases 17% Not strong Republican 17% 35-44 8% Legal only life of mother 15% Ind, lean Republican 24% 45-54 36% Legal for rape, incest, life 27% Independent 23% 55-64 26% Legal first trimester 17% Ind, lean Democratic 22% 65+ 19% Legal in all cases 14% Not strong Democrat
  4. 4.  Women are not necessarily familiar with the Planned Parenthood videos or details of the scandal. Many have intentionally kept this story at arm’s length – the majority of women surveyed say they are following the story not too closely or not at all. Further, only 18% of these women had seen any of the videos.  The women tested who are most aware and, consequently, most outraged are pro-life Republican voters, but this outrage is not shared by all women. Our focus groups showed these stories are moving around in pro-life circles, but not outside of them.  Focus groups also showed that women who have looked into the Planned Parenthood videos don’t know what to believe. They think there is something wrong, but they can’t tell how deep the problem is. They question the motives of Center for Medical Progress and wonder if the scandal is politically motivated by Republicans who want to stop abortion. Context
  5. 5.  Of the women tested, most don’t associate Planned Parenthood with abortion. They are much more likely to say: birth control (70%), education (55%) and health screenings (54%).  Women tested often have had interaction with Planned Parenthood themselves or know someone who has and that largely positive interaction informs their opinion.  Planned Parenthood is a strong brand with a reservoir of goodwill built up among many women. Even after this story broke, two-thirds of women tested said their view of Planned Parenthood remained unchanged or was more positive. It is seen, even by some pro-life women, as a recognizable and trustworthy place for women to get reproductive health care. It is seen as fulfilling a unique and important service for women who, otherwise, would not have options. Planned Parenthood Brand
  6. 6.  The women in focus groups reject the idea that a network of community health providers could replace Planned Parenthood. Why?  Though a slight majority of women polled support redirecting funds, focus groups discussion revealed…  Women wouldn’t know where to go. Everyone knows Planned Parenthood.  How would this even work? They can’t visualize what these community health centers are (part of a county health department, a hospital network, or private, for profit).  Whereas funding to Planned Parenthood goes to one organization and is directed to affiliates, alternate organization funding would be spread among hundreds or thousands of non-connected health care providers which would dilute the impact of the funds and be an oversight nightmare. Redirecting Funds
  7. 7. Because our survey showed many of the women had not seen any of the videos, we showed three videos to the women in the focus groups, as well as the Cecile Richards rebuttal statement.  While the videos made the women uncomfortable, it was surprising how they developed an explanation to relieve their dissonance - that’s how doctors and medical professionals talk or fetal tissue donation is something good that can come as a result of an abortion. However, three key questions emerged in the focus group discussion that cause concern and doubts:  Did they make a profit? Why would employees be bartering for prices if it is a standard operating procedure?  Did the women give their consent?  Does Planned Parenthood act in the best interests of their patient and with no other motivation? Attitudes after more exposure
  8. 8. In focus groups, a strong consensus emerged for a thorough investigation into Planned Parenthood practices. Not a political examination in which no Planned Parenthood employees are asked questions, but a real on-the-ground, wide-ranging look at their practices.  The women tested saw an investigation as necessary to create needed transparency and accountability to fix whatever problems exist; but were strong in their beliefs that the investigation should not presuppose corruption.  They said there are many examples of investigations that have then led to reform.  The women tested are not ready for a government shutdown over the defunding Planned Parenthood.  They would however, vote against a candidate who opposed an investigation into Planned Parenthood practices. Investigate, don’t defund
  9. 9. Key Takeaways  The women tested, soft Republicans, independents, college- educated suburban women, and younger women, will be instrumental in the outcome of the 2016 election.  They will not support a perceived attack on abortion. The minute this looks like a Republican end-game to end abortion the women are absolutely unequivocal in their support for Planned Parenthood.  They do not support a call for the immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood or an imminent government shutdown.  But they overwhelmingly support focusing on an investigation into the organization’s practices first, allowing for due process, before mounting a full court press on defunding. Communicating
  10. 10. Key Takeaways  These women want their legislators to push for a full and complete investigation into Planned Parenthood. Democratic opposition to an investigation is seen as unreasonable and political.  They strongly believe that Planned Parenthood has been less than transparent about its practices.  They further think that Planned Parenthood receives significant government funds and needs to be accountable.  The videos have raised doubts about their practices and motives. Their motive should always be a patient’s best interests and what was seen on the videos calls that into question. Communicating
  11. 11. Key Messages  An overwhelming majority of the women polled supported the following statements:  Government funding of Planned Parenthood is a sensitive issue, and it is important to respect that good people have sincerely held beliefs on both sides of the issue. (87% agree)  People who care about women’s health can disagree about government funding of Planned Parenthood. (78% agree)  Whether Planned Parenthood can receive government funding is an important issue, but it’s even more important that the health care needs of women are met. (87% agree) Communicating