Gallup & Abortion: Pro-Life Voters Have an Advantage

Policy


A pro-life protester marches during the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., January 24, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Gallup continues to release results on abortion attitudes from its annual “values and beliefs” poll. This week, Gallup released findings about the importance of abortion as a voting issue, showing that about a quarter (24 percent) of Americans say they would vote for a candidate only if their views align on the issue of abortion. Forty-seven percent of Americans said that abortion was “one of many important factors” in voting, and 25 percent said abortion was “not a major issue” in how they vote.

The results indicate that abortion is becoming an increasingly important issue for voters. In 1996, only 18 percent of respondents to the same survey questions indicated that they would vote for a candidate only if their views on abortion align.

More interesting is the relative importance that pro-life and pro-choice voters place on abortion when it comes to voting. The survey found that, among those who identify as “pro-life,” an impressive 30 percent would vote only for a pro-life candidate. Only 19 percent of people who identify as “pro-choice” said they would vote only for a candidate who supported legal abortion. The same poll found that Americans are split nearly evenly between “pro-choice” and “pro-life” 48 percent to 46 percent. Based on those figures, 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.

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This Gallup poll adds to the body of survey data finding that single-issue pro-life voters outnumber single-issue pro-choice voters. Since 2001, Gallup has conducted eight polls about the importance of abortion as a voting issue. In each instance, the percentage of pro-lifers who identify as single-issue voters exceeds the percentage of pro-choicers who do the same.

These findings are frequently overlooked by many pundits and those in the mainstream media. Indeed, when Republican candidates fare poorly at the ballot box, countless commentators are quick to suggest that their failure was, at least in part, the result of their stance on life issues. Hopefully, these latest poll results will encourage pro-life candidates this election cycle.

 

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.





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