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Poll: Little interest in women's issues on the campaign trail

May 31, 2012|By Noam N. Levey
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WASHINGTON – Even as political fights over abortion and contraception grab headlines, very few American women identify issues of women’s health as something they want to hear about from candidates this year, according to a new survey from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

Only 2 percent of registered female voters named “women’s issues” as a top priority in this year’s campaign. If abortion is included, that number rises only to 5 percent.

By contrast, 60% registered women identified the economy as the top issue, making it far and away the most important issue in voters’ minds, the national poll found.

Healthcare came in second at 23%, followed by social issues at 12%.

“It is clear that the economy is the top issue for all groups of women voters, and many other issues rank above women’s reproductive health,” the poll’s authors conclude.

President Obama and other Democrats have been trying to highlight efforts by Republicans nationwide to curtail abortion rights and scale back women’s access to contraception in what Democrats call a “war on women.”

GOP politicians in several states have moved to defund Planned Parenthood and require women seeking abortions to view ultrasounds of their fetuses before getting the procedure.

But the Kaiser poll found just 31%  of women believe there is currently a “wide-scale effort to limit women’s reproductive health choices and services.”

Even among Democratic women, just 36% see such an effort; 31% of independent say such an effort exists.

A larger percentage of women – 45% - agreed that “there are some groups that would like to limit women’s reproductive health choices and services, but it is not a widespread effort.”

Men are even less likely to see a widespread effort, with just 25% identifying such a campaign.

The poll, the latest in a monthly series tracking healthcare issues, was conducted May 8-14 among 1,218 adults, ages 18 and older. The margin of error for women is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Noam.levey@latimes.com

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