Jon Kyl’s Approval Rating Falls After False Planned Parenthood Claim

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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is still a very popular politician in Arizona despite his false claim that abortions make up 90% of Planned Parenthood’s services. Actually, that’s not intended to be a factual statement.

In reality, Kyl’s approval rating has gotten markedly worse since January, according to a PPP poll released on Friday, perhaps not coincidentally because of the false claim he made on the Senate floor last month, and the negative press attention it generated.

In the same PPP poll that showed Kyl’s approval rating slipping, a majority of Arizonans said they opposed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. Further, while Republicans’ opinion of Kyl hasn’t changed much since January, large numbers of Democrats and independents — who both strongly opposed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the survey — have soured on Kyl over the same period.Back in January, 47% of voters approved of Kyl’s job performance, while 40% disapproved. Now, those numbers have practically flipped, with 42% of voters giving Kyl a thumbs up, and 46% giving him a thumbs down.

That quick downturn was caused almost entirely by defections from Democrats and independents. In January, Democrats disapproved by Kyl’s job performance by a 24% to 63% split, while independents said the same, 35% to 50%. Those splits have since grown worse for Kyl, as Democrats now disapprove of him 16% to 70%, and independents dislike him by a 24% to 63% margin.

At the same time, the latest survey found that 69% of Democrats and 62% of independents opposed banning all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Overall, 51% of registered voters opposed defunding Planned Parenthood, while 35% supported that proposal.

In releasing the poll’s findings, PPP’s Tom Jensen wrote:

Kyl’s numbers are pretty much unchanged with Republicans but he is way down with Democrats and independents, perhaps not so coincidentally the two groups that are very supportive of Planned Parenthood.

After making his false claim about Planned Parenthood’s abortion services, a Kyl spokesman tried to clarify that Kyl was not making a factual statement — even though he said it on the Senate floor during a broader budget debate the focused heavily on a proposal to completely defund Planned Parenthood. That sparked a renewed round of criticism and mockery, most notably from Stephen Colbert, who teased Kyl on his show and on Twitter with a string of false facts about Kyl, all followed by the disclaimer that his Kyl facts were not intended to be factual statements. (For example, Colbert tweeted that, “For the past ten years, Jon Kyl has been two children in a very convincing Jon Kyl suit.”)

Kyl, who has said he will not seek reelection next year, has since had his statement scrubbed from the official congressional record.

The PPP poll was conducted April 28-May 1 among 623 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.9%.

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