As congressional leaders move to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, new state-level polls suggest congressional Republicans could pay a political price for defunding the health-care provider.
The polls commissioned by Planned Parenthood show that almost half of likely voters in Arizona and Nevada would be less likely to support the reelection bids of Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) if the GOP lawmakers defunded Planned Parenthood. Both senators are facing reelection next year.
Congressional Republicans have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a fast-track repeal of the Affordable Care Act that’s already underway.
A poll conducted last month among 600 likely voters in Arizona found that 48 percent of respondents would be less likely to support a candidate who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, even if they agreed with the candidate on other issues.
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Flake won election in 2012 by a four-point margin, as the New York Times reported, and faces a tough reelection fight. A recent independent poll of state voters had Flake trailing in a three-way race against Republican rivals. The Planned Parenthood poll favors Flake over a possible 2018 Democratic rival by only two points, within the poll’s margin of error.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of Nevada voters surveyed said they’d be less likely to reelect Heller if he voted to defund Planned Parenthood. The poll shows Heller nearly neck and neck against a hypothetical Democratic opponent, leading 41 percent to 38 percent.
Heller barely beat back a Democratic challenge to his Senate seat in 2012, winning with 45.9 percent of the vote, as the Times reported.
Planned Parenthood enjoys strong support in both states. Close to 60 percent of Nevadans and Arizonans hold a favorable opinion of the health-care provider, the polls show.
More than 2 million people get health-care services from Planned Parenthood every year.
An earlier survey of 870 registered Nevada voters by Public Policy Polling found 63 percent oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.