The number of Americans who consider themselves “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” continues to be virtually the same as previous years (46%-48%), a new Gallup poll confirms. There is, however, an important difference in the way they vote that favors pro-life candidates.
In a random sampling of more than 1000 Americans questioned in May (before the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion), 47% of respondents indicated that abortion is one of many “major factors” in how they will vote. Just 25% do not consider it a major issue at all.
Importantly, 24% of those surveyed indicated that they will vote only for a candidate who shares their views on the issue. That’s down slightly from last year, but up overall from the period 1996-2016 when the average was approximately 18%. Abortion is becoming more, not less, of a threshold political issue for the public.
The breakdown of responses between pro-lifers and pro-choicers reflects that pro-lifers are more likely to be single-issue voters, by a margin of 30%-19%.
Michael New, a professor of social research and political science at Catholic University, in a post for National Review, says this difference in single-issue voters is good news for pro-life candidates. “Based on those figures,” he writes, “these statistics suggest that, among single-issue abortion voters, a pro-life candidate running at the national level would enjoy a four-point advantage over a pro-choice opponent.
The numbers don’t change much when those surveyed are broken down by those registered to vote. Using that metric, Gallup indicates only the number of those who consider abortion “one of” the major factors in voting rises slightly to 50% (versus 47% among all adults). All the other numbers remain the same, except with regard to the “undecideds.”
Forty-seven years after Roe v. Wade, abortion is still a hot political topic, if not more so. That should be a warning of sorts to judges who legislate new constitutional rights from the bench, as well as to politicians who hide behind such judicial activism.
Elections have consequences. This year, we’ll see how the pro-life vote affects the future of the country on this critical issue at both the state and national level. If Gallup is correct, the pro-life vote has the edge and candidates should take note of it.
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