The poll found that a solid majority of Catholics, 58 percent, say contraception and birth control should be a required, no-cost benefit under their company’s healthcare plan.
The president has been hammered in recent days by leaders in the Catholic Church, as well as his Republican rivals, for the administration’s decision to force employers, including religious institutions, to provide health insurance coverage for contraception.
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney called it an attack on “religious liberty,” and some small-government conservatives say it’s evidence that the Obama administration is intrusively centralizing power within the federal government.
Even Obama’s supporters, such as The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, have said that no matter what one believes about the policy, the president “utterly botched” the politics of the matter.
The administration has argued that the specifics of the policy are still under review, and shot back at what it called “misreporting” on the issue.
At a Monday press conference, press secretary Jay Carney said churches and houses of worship would be exempt, and that some aspects, such as a possible “rider,” could still be included in the final plan.
Hospitals and charities run by the Catholic Church, however, would not be eligible for an exemption.
The PRRI poll shows broad support for employer-provided healthcare coverage for contraception and birth control, with 55 percent of all Americans saying they support the idea.
Sixty-one percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 73 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of political independents, 65 percent of young voters, 50 percent of white mainline Protestants and 62 percent of women were in favor of employer-provided healthcare coverage for contraception and birth control.
Only white evangelicals, at 38 percent, and men, at 47 percent, did not show majority support.
When it comes to the specific policy regarding whether religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges should have to provide that coverage, a majority of all Catholics, 52 percent, favored requiring that birth control be included in insurance.
But among Catholic voters, only 45 percent are in favor of requiring that organizations affiliated with churches be required to provide the coverage. Support from all voters falls to 49 percent.
The PRRI poll of 1,009 U.S. adults was conducted Feb. 1-5 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.