Three polls have now asked Americans directly about the Obama administrations decision to force religious institutions to pay for birth control against their religious beliefs. The results vary widely depending on how the pollster framed the issue. Here is the CBS News/New York Times question:
And what about for religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university- do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that their health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female employees?
The result? 61 percent support Obama's mandate, only 31 percent oppose.
Now here is how Pew asked the question:
Should religiously-affiliated institutions that object to the use of contraceptives be given an exemption from this rule, or should they be required to cover contraceptives like other employers?
48 percent said religiously-affiliated institutions should be given an exemption. 44 said they should be required to cover it.
And here is Rasmussen:
The requirement to provide contraceptives for women violates deeply held beliefs of some churches and religious organizations. If providing such coverage violates the beliefs of a church or religious organization, should the government still require them to provide coverage for contraceptives?
50 percent said the government should not require religious organization to pay for contraceptives. Only 39 percent said the government should force them.
The CBS/New York Times poll never mentioned that religious institutions might object to the mandate, the Rasmussen and Pew polls did. That seems to explain why the CBS/NYT poll is such an outlier.