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April 05, 2012

Scott Brown Showing No Damage From Alleged "War on Women," Despite Representing Archliberal, PC State

What if they threw a War on Women and no one came?

Brown’s lead narrowed by a statistically insignificant one point, during a month in which the media-narrative was a moderate Republican’s nightmare.... Elizabeth Warren, the prominent, feminist Harvard professor, seems particularly well positioned to seize this narrative and find a sympathetic audience in the Bay State.

Yet Massachusetts voters who bought this claim were essentially those who already supported Warren or would eventually come around to her regardless. Even more troublingly for Warren and Democrats who see this war-on-women rhetoric as the path to victory, the mandate debate appears to have given more of a boost to Brown than to Warren.

More than half of those who have increased support for Brown in the past month say the health care, birth control mandate debate influenced their vote “a great deal” or “some” compared with only 39 percent of those who recently increased support for Elizabeth Warren.

Here's a strange contradiction:

Fifty percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who says: “It’s wrong for government to compel people to violate their religious beliefs” (compared with 30 percent who’d be less likely). Yet 49 percent of surveyed Massachusetts voters would be more likely to vote for someone who “would require religious organizations and employers, even those who have religious objections, to pay for health care plans which include providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception” (compared with 33 percent who would be less likely).

Here's my explanation: People strongly support their own freedom -- and no one else's. How else to read poll results showing a majority agreeing that "people" shouldn't be compelled to violate their religious principles, but organizations may be? All voters are people, and none are "organizations."

A pollster explained this phenomenon years ago. Anytime you put the proposition in front of voters that they ought to be able to make more choices (even choices that restrict other people's freedom!), they are strongly inclined to support that proposition.

Although Republicans "freedom" rhetoric is itself attractive to voters, we have to make sure that the public -- which apparently supports freedom in an utterly unprincipled, Only For Me sort of way -- understands that we mean to increase their personal freedom, and not some other person's (or company's).

Because Obama can make headway with the idea that be taking away some other people's freedoms, he can give a particular voter more options. And that voter, being unprincipled and selfish about this, just might go for that pitch.

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posted by Ace at 12:44 PM

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