Gallup Poll: Abortion Views Give President Bush 7% Edge Over John Kerry

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Gallup Poll: Abortion Views Give President Bush 7% Edge Over John Kerry Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 26, 2004

Washington, DC ( — The results of a new Gallup survey show that pro-life voters are more focused on electing pro-life candidates than "pro-choice" voters are on backing candidates who support abortion. They survey shows the abortion issue favors President Bush and Gallup says it could decide the election.

According to the poll, 19% of likely voters say the abortion issue directs which candidates they are willing to support.

According to the new poll, sponsored by CNN and USA Today, self-identified pro-life voters are nearly three times more likely to describe themselves as single issue voters than those who say they are "pro-choice" on abortion.

Of the 19% who say abortion is important to them, thirty percent of pro-life voters will only vote for a candidate whose views match their own while only 11 percent of pro-abortion voters will only support pro-abortion candidates.

On the other hand, 38 percent of pro-abortion voters say abortion is not a major issue in determining their vote while only 22 percent of pro-life voters say abortion doesn’t matter.

Source: The Gallup Organization

"[P]ro-life voters may have the greater impact at the polls. The reason lies in their level of intensity," says Lydia Saad, Senior Gallup Poll Editor.

That intensity is reflected in the impact pro-life voters have on the views of likely voters overall.

"The net result is that 13% of all likely voters say they are pro-life and will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion," Saad explained. By contrast, only 6 percent of all likely voters say they back abortion and will only vote for candidates who will keep abortion legal.

That 7 percent advantage could have a major impact on the presidential race where pro-life President George W. Bush battles pro-abortion candidate John Kerry.

In fact, 90% of those pro-life single issue voters plan to back the president next week.

"Abortion, though not the most talked-about subject this presidential election, may be an important stealth issue that could impact the outcome in key states, or even nationally," Saad says.

According to the Gallup poll, 23 percent of Bush’s voters are single issue pro-life voters whereas only 13 percent of Kerry’s backers are single issue voters in favor of abortion. Take those pro-life votes away and Saad said Bush’s current lead overall among likely voters would not only be erased, he would be losing to Kerry in the polls.

Despite detractors who say Bush’s pro-life stance is a drag on his re-election chances, the poll confirms he would lose by a large margin had he abandoned the pro-life perspective.

"Given the current state of abortion attitudes, Bush, in particular, has good reason to hold firm to his pro-life position and to communicate his views to the pro-life voters who stand ready to give him a second term," Saad explains.

This isn’t the first time the Gallup poll has shown the abortion issue being advantageous to pro-life candidates.

"Gallup found a similar pattern in 2000, and the national exit polling in every presidential election since 1984 has shown a net advantage to the pro-life side over the pro-choice side, based on the percentage of single-issue abortion voters in the electorate," Saad said.

The survey is based on interviews with 1,013 adults from October 14-16, 2004. The margin of error in the Gallup poll is 3 percent. The likely voter results are subject to a 4 percent margin of error.