The Washington Times - February 7, 2012, 02:17PM

Catholic organizations might be battling the Obama administration over a new mandate on groups with religious affiliations to cover contraception in their health insurance plans, but a poll released Tuesday indicates that ordinary Catholics support the law at a higher rate than the general public.

When asked by Public Policy Polling (PPP) if employers should be required to provide workers with health-care plans covering contraception at no cost, 58 percent of Catholic respondents agreed, compared with 55 percent of all respondents.


And when the question was narrowed to whether colleges and hospitals with religious affiliations should be included in the requirement, Catholics continued to express more support than the general public. Fifty-two percent of Catholics said they should be held to the mandate, compared with 49 percent overall.

The results provide some encouraging news for President Obama, who incited a flood of protests by Catholic groups after his administration announced last month that they would not be exempted from the new mandate. Contraception is considered a preventative service that insurers must cover without charging a co-pay under the president’s health-care law.

“I think what we’re seeing is that women strongly feel this is a benefit that should be provided to all people and it’s not really a religious issue,” said PPP President Tom Jensen.

While evangelical groups have been largely quiet on the matter, it was white evangelicals who expressed the most opposition to the requirement, compared with Catholics, white mainline Protestants and religiously unaffiliated Americans. Thirty-eight percent said they disagree with the employer mandate, and less than a third said employers with religious affiliations should have to comply with it.

The Democratic-affiliated firm surveyed 1,085 registered voters Feb. 3-5; the poll has a 3 percent margin of error. An oversample of 359 Catholic voters also was surveyed, with a 5.2 percent margin of error.