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RMU poll: Dem women not behind Obamacare backers

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 10:42 p.m.

As Democrats face a midterm electorate still skeptical of the Affordable Care Act, a Robert Morris University poll shows much of the opposition coming from a key Democratic constituency: women.

Among women, 45.4 percent of likely voters said they're more likely to vote against a member of Congress who supported the health care law, compared to 39.2 percent of men, according to the survey by RMU's Polling Institute, which Trib Total Media sponsors.

“What really jumps out at you here is gender and marital status,” RMU political scientist Philip Harold said. “Among likely voters in this poll, the opposition to Obamacare is being driven by women.”

Just over half of married women oppose Congressional candidates who backed the law. Among men, 43.6 percent of likely voters said they would be more likely to vote for an Obamacare supporter, the poll found.

Women voted for President Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 10 percentage points in 2012, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The RMU poll found broad agreement that global warming is real, and a companion survey showed Pennsylvanians are less skeptical of the science than the country as a whole.

More than 86 percent of people in Pennsylvania say global warming is very or somewhat real, compared to 70.4 percent of Americans overall, the poll found. The number of believers grows when they are asked about “climate change,” rather than global warming. Almost 90 percent of Democrats and nearly 69 percent of Republicans across the country say climate change is real.

“Scientists not only agree on global warming and climate change but find that it is extremely likely that temperature increases are caused by man-made factors,” said Tony Kerzmann, a mechanical engineering and energy expert at RMU.

But just because people believe it's happening doesn't mean they're ready to do much about it.

Just 8.4 percent of people in Pennsylvania and 12.5 percent of all Americans say they've measured the amount of carbon they emit, something most climate scientists agree is a key driver of rising global temperatures. Paying higher taxes to improve the environment also got tepid support; 34.1 percent of Pennsylvanians and 41.2 percent of Americans overall support the idea.

The state survey included more bad news for Gov. Tom Corbett, who is up for re-election this year. Just 29.4 percent have a favorable impression of Corbett. Fewer than one in three approve of the job he's doing, and only about one in five say they plan to vote for him.

The nationwide poll surveyed 1,006 likely voters, and the Pennsylvania poll surveyed 501 adults. They had margins of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points and 4.5 percentage points, respectively.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or mwereschagin@tribweb.com.

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