Political News for Senior Citizens

Political News for Seniors

Most Americans, other than senior citizens, say budget must fund Planned Parenthood

New Pew Research survey finds strong 60% public support for Planned Parenthood; blame Republicans for conflict

Sept. 8, 2015 - For senior citizens it should not be a surprise that Americans age 65 and older are the least likely to support maintaining federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Surprisingly, however, the percentage of seniors in favor is substantially larger than the number who want to eliminate the funding, according to the Pew Research Center.


“With the prospect of a government shutdown apparently decreasing, the public by a wide margin says that any congressional budget agreement must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood,” says the survey report released today by Pew.

The latest national poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 22-27 among 1,502 adults, finds that 60% say that any budget deal must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood, while 32% say that any agreement must eliminate funding for the organization.

If lawmakers fail to agree on a budget and the government does shut down, more say the Republicans (40%) than the Democrats (26%) would be more to blame; about a quarter (23%) volunteer that both sides would be equally to blame.

Before the previous government shutdown in October 2013, when asked whether Republicans or the Obama administration would be more to blame if no budget agreement was reached, 39% said Republicans would be more to blame and 36% said the Obama administration (17% said both equally).

There are stark partisan divides in attitudes about the Planned Parenthood issue and in views of a budget compromise more generally. About eight-in-ten Democrats (83%) and 64% of independents say any budget agreement must maintain funding for the group.

Two-thirds of Republicans (66%) say any agreement must eliminate Planned Parenthood funding.

As in prior budget showdowns, the public generally favors compromise. Most Americans (58%) want lawmakers who share their views to be willing to compromise, even if that means passing a budget they disagree with. Just 36% want lawmakers to stand by their principles, even if it means the government shuts down.

Opinion on this measure was nearly identical in the days before the October 2013 partial government shutdown (57% compromise vs. 33% stand by principles).

As was the case in 2013, Democrats (73%) are far more likely than Republicans (40%) to say that the lawmakers who share their views should compromise, even if it results in a deal they disagree with.

Views of the Budget Debate and Planned Parenthood Funding

Republicans Internally Divided Over Funding Planned Parenthood

In October 2013, after a partial government shutdown had begun, the public was divided over the outcome of a possible budget agreement. At that time, when the Affordable Care Act was at the center of the disagreement, 44% said Republicans should agree to a budget deal without cuts or delays in the health care law, while 42% said President Obama should agree to cuts or delays in the law.

Today, by a margin of almost two-to-one (60% to 32%), the public says any budget agreement must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. But there are wide age and ideological differences in these opinions.

Majorities across age groups, except for older adults, say any budget agreement must include Planned Parenthood funding.

Those ages 65 and older are divided, with 46% saying that any budget deal should maintain Planned Parenthood funding, and 41% saying it should eliminate such funding.

Republicans are internally divided over whether any budget agreement must include Planned Parenthood funding. Nearly eight-in-ten conservative Republicans (78%) say any budget agreement must eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, twice the share of moderate and liberal Republicans (39%).

Comparable percentages of Republicans (30%) and Democrats (26%) say they have heard a lot about the budget debate and a possible government shutdown.

Among those who have heard a lot about the issue, 43% say any budget deal should eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, roughly double the share among those who have heard nothing about the debate (21%).

Other Findings

Modest attention to budget debate. The prospects of a government shutdown have not registered widely with the public. About a quarter of Americans (26%) say they have heard a lot about the budget debate and possible shutdown, while 38% heard a little. Roughly a third (36%) say they have heard nothing at all about the budget fight and a possible shutdown.

More signs of GOP discontent. Job ratings for congressional leaders of both parties are low – 34% approve of the job performance of Democratic leaders while just 19% approve of the way Republican leaders are handling their jobs. Republicans’ ratings of the job performance of their party’s congressional leaders have plummeted this year – from 50% in February to 32% currently. About twice as many Democrats (65%) approve of the way their party’s leaders in Congress are doing their jobs.

More views covered in complete report include:

> Republicans view Boehner’s departure positively.

> Abortion views little changed. Among the public overall, opinions about whether abortion should be legal or illegal in all or most cases have changed little over the past year.

> Republican Approval of GOP Leaders at New Low

Read the Complete Report at the Pew Research Center

Related Political News from Senior Journal Archives

Senior citizens led swing to support same-sex marriage but still most against

Pew Research has followed issue for years and has insights into change - June 29, 2015

More at Political Section Page


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