The unforced error has added impact because it ties directly into other issues that President Obama would rather keep quiet before Election Day. Most voters want more choices in their health care coverage, not less. By a 77 percent to 9 percent margin, voters think everybody should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance plans, including some that cost more and cover just about all medical procedures and some that cost less while covering only major medical procedures. They want options, not mandates.
Additionally, the issue puts the president's unpopular health care law back in the news. Voters already believe that law will increase the cost of health care, and most also believe the decision on contraceptive coverage will add even more costs.
In the end, unforced errors like this will only matter if the election is close. If the economy improves significantly, the president is likely to be re-elected. If the recovery stalls and confidence falls, he is likely to lose. But in a close race, unforced errors could be decisive. Team Obama is probably looking for a way to correct this error and undo the damage well before the fall campaign season arrives.