Pro-Life Voters Will Provide Winning Margin on Abortion, Group Says

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Voters Will Provide Winning Margin on Abortion, Group Says

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 5, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A national public policy group predicts that the pro-life vote will be a key factor in the 2004 election.

The Family Research Council says election results from two years ago, coupled with current polling data, give a clear indication that pro-life voters could be influential in determining the outcome of Congressional races.

FRC adds that the GOP would benefit by emphasizing the pro-life plank of the national party platform.

"It can be convincingly argued that the Republicans have a majority in the Senate because of the life issue," wrote Jayd Henricks, director of government relations at the FRC. Henricks has produced an analysis of pro-life politics called, "The Pro-Life Vote and the 2004 Senate Elections."

"To increase their numbers they should emphasize the pro-life position as a strength of their platform, rather than avoid discussing the issue," Henricks added.

FRC points out that post-election polls in 2002 demonstrated that the pro-life stand proved to be the winning position in several hotly-contested Senate races.

For instance, a Zogby poll indicated that, in those critical contests, 41 percent of those people surveyed said that the abortion issue influenced how they voted in the Senate race in their state.

Of those respondents who indicated that abortion was a key issue, 55 percent cast their ballots for the pro-life Republican Senate candidate.

Meanwhile, general polls on abortion reveal that the pro-life side is gaining strength. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of those people surveyed believe abortion should be either illegal or legal only in a few very rare cases.

Likewise, a CNN poll indicated that 75 percent of respondents support a 24-hour waiting period, 85 percent support informed consent, and 73 percent approve of parental consent for abortions. Other polls show the majority of Americans — 52 percent — believe abortion is homicide and 72 percent say abortion is morally wrong.

While some candidates view the "pro-life" label as a liability, an increasing number of Americans are identifying themselves as "pro-life" rather than "pro-choice."

In 1999, 43 percent said they were pro-life, while 46 percent said they were pro-choice. But an April, 2004 Fox News/Opinion Dynamic poll showed 47 percent of respondents called themselves pro-life, with 44 percent describing themselves as pro-choice.

Young people in particular are increasingly pro-life. According to a Gallup Youth Survey, only 19 percent of U.S. teens believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

According to the FRC’s Henricks, "These poll numbers indicate that when the abortion issue is framed generically as a choice between identifying oneself as either pro-life or pro-choice, the American public is largely split, with the edge to those who consider themselves pro-life. When the issue is framed according to more specific questions, the vast majority of Americans identify themselves with the pro-life position."

Henricks adds, "Considering the poll numbers on the abortion issue a candidate would benefit from a pro-life platform identifying specific legislation in defense of life. Whether it be parental consent, a ban on partial-birth abortion, informed consent, or a variety of other modest restrictions on abortion, candidates for public office would do well to publicly support pro-life policies."

FRC President Tony Perkins adds that the exit poll results from 2002 show that candidates should not be timid about expressing their pro-life viewpoints.

"Pro-life candidates should not be shy about their position on life," Perkins said. "Rather, they should affirm the dignity of life with confidence on both principle and the political value of pro-life issues as well.

"Too often candidates mute their pro-life platform in an effort to gain the support of so-called socially moderate voters. The problem with this strategy is that it is the pro-life message, as much as any other single issue, which energizes the conservative base," Perkins said.

Related web sites:
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