Culture

Planned Parenthood Polling

Planed Parenthood has historically been a popular organization. In 1989, Gallup found that 82 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of it. So it may well be that the public opposes taking federal money away from Planned Parenthood and giving it to other organizations that provide health services but do not provide abortions. But the polling we’re seeing is not shedding light on that question.

Dana Milbank, for example, crows today that 61 percent of Americans in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll opposes defunding Planned Parenthood. But here’s the poll question they were asked: “Would you favor or oppose totally eliminating federal funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning and preventative health services?” There’s nothing in there about redirecting the funds to other organizations. Respondents might think that money for health services would just be cut.

Maybe the public would be against what Republicans are trying to do, but you’d have to give them a full description of it to find out.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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