Catholics Stand by Obama Despite Contraception Controversy

Contraception issue doesn't appear to be driving Catholics away from Obama.

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The Obama administration has consistently framed the fight over employer-covered birth control as a women's rights issue, and it appears to be working; a large percentage of Catholics still vow support for the president.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday indicates that Obama's approval rating has suffered little among Catholic voters, who overwhelmingly supported the president in 2008.

The poll reveals 46 percent of Catholics approve of the job Obama is currently doing compared with 49 percent who approved of the job he was doing two weeks ago, a change Gallup says is well within the margin of error.

The Gallup poll was conducted last week in the midst of the debate over employer-covered contraception. In the past ten days, the Obama administration has dealt with an onslaught of criticism over its plan to require religious hospitals, schools, and other organizations to provide contraception coverage to their employees.

Republicans have argued the mandate is an attack on religious freedom.

The administration announced Friday an accommodation for religious organizations who objected to the rule. Under the revised mandate, employers who have "a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan" will not pay for contraception. Instead, the insurance plan with cover the services at no extra cost.

Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, still is unhappy with the new requirement, telling the Associated Press he'll takes steps to fight the proposal in both a court of law and in Congress. [Meet the Bundlers: See Who's Raising Big Bucks for Obama.]

Time will tell how the volatile contraceptive issue will fare in the court of public opinion, but so far the outcome looks promising for Obama. In past elections, Catholics have been a critical swing voting group and a constituency incumbent president's have been cautious to upset.

Overall, the Gallup poll reveals the president saw an uptick in support from Americans, earning an approval rating of 47 percent.

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