The Washington Times - March 13, 2012, 12:22PM

As Washington lawmakers battle to define President Obama’s contraception coverage mandate on their own terms, a recent poll indicates that more Americans agree with Democrats’ take on the issue than with Republicans.

Fifty-one percent of respondents to a CBS/New York Times poll released late Monday said the battle is about women’s health and rights, while 37 percent said the clash is about religious liberty.


As Democrats defend the president’s mandate for employers to cover contraception for workers, they’ve argued that the issue is about making vital health care available to women — and not about protecting the moral rights of Catholic employers not to be forced to subsidize contraception, as Republicans charge.

But while respondents seemed to agree with Democrats on the messaging, a bare majority sided with Republicans on whether employers with religious or moral objections should be excused from the mandate.

Fifty-one percent said the government should offer employers a religious exemption, while 40 percent said it shouldn’t. And 57 percent said the exemption should be offered only to religiously-affiliated employers, such as schools or hospitals.

The poll of 1,009 adults nationwide was conducted from March 7-11 and has a 3 percent margin of error.