The Hobby Lobby ruling divided the country. But it’s not motivating people to vote.

When the Supreme Court ruled in June that some employers could opt out of covering certain contraceptives for employees if doing so violates their religious beliefs, it divided the country. What it didn't do was give many people extra motivation to vote in November.

The country is split down the middle over the ruling, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll released Friday. Forty-seven percent support it, 49 percent don't.

About the same share of Republicans approve of the decision (71 percent) as Democrats (70 percent) disapprove of it. Independents are split right down the middle.


(Chart via Kaiser)

That's about as divisive as an issue can get. But it's not spurring people to protest or support it at the ballot box.

Eighty-five percent of voters say it does not really change their plans for November. Just 11 percent say it makes them more likely to vote.


(Chart via Kaiser)

Which party does this hurt more? On the whole it hurts Democrats, who are trying to remedy their midterm turnout woes. Polls show Republican voters are more pumped up about voting in November, leaving Democrats as the ones searching for ways to get their base to come out.

One strategy has been to focus on women's issues like contraception and abortion rights. Single women are a significant part of the Democratic coalition. But Democrats are worried they won't turn out in substantial numbers this fall. So they have turned to things like the Hobby Lobby decision to generate more interest.

The silver lining for Democrats is that opponents of the Hobby Lobby ruling are more likely than supporters to feel extra motivation to vote. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to be more compelled to cast ballots over the ruling.

But 11 percent is still a low number. Unless it increases dramatically, Hobby Lobby simply isn't going to be a major issue in the election.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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