"Fertility Gap" Will Aid Republicans Over Democrats, Impact Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

"Fertility Gap" Will Aid Republicans Over Democrats, Impact Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 22, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Republicans and conservatives can expect to fare better than Democrats and liberals long-term, according to a Syracuse University professor. Arthur Brooks, who teaches at the college’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs, says the reason is simply arithmetic showing the conservatives will have significantly more babies.

The phenomenon could have a significant impact on the abortion debate and on election battles across the country.

Brooks says the political climate will change significantly in the next 15-20 years because conservatives, who are typically more pro-life, are having more children than liberals, who mostly back abortion.

"Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result," Brooks writes in an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal on Tuesday.

Brooks points to the 2004 General Social Survey showing that, on average, every group of 100 liberals has approximately 147 children while a typical group of 100 conservatives has 208 kids.

Brooks calls that a "fertility gap" and says the difference is about 41 percent.

The number of children born to people of various political persuasions may not matter if children didn’t normally end up adopting similar political views as their parents. Brooks says that’s normally the case and the cause for the expected political swing.

"Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections," he writes in the WSJ editorial.

"Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%–explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today," Brooks adds.

Brooks contends the "fertility gap" is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year. That means the political landscape across the country will change dramatically.

"A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%," Brooks explains.

"A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020–and all for no other reason than babies," Brooks adds.

The "fertility gap" apparently has nothing to do with major socioeconomic indicators including age, income, education, sex, race–or even religion.

"Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative," Brooks explains.

Polls are showing the increasingly conservative trend among teenagers and young adults.

Gallup polls have consistently found since 2003 that teens are significantly more pro-life than adults. Seven in ten teenagers say that abortion is morally wrong.

An April 2004 Zogby poll found that 51.6% of 18-29 year-olds call themselves "pro-life."

Though a majority call themselves pro-life, a much larger percentage actually take a pro-life position on abortion.

The survey found 60 percent of 18-29 year-olds took one of three varying pro-life positions on abortion while only 39 percent agreed with the three pro-abortion stances. Some twenty-six percent of young Americans said abortions should never be legal.

"Anecdotal evidence and polling over the last several years have demonstrated a clear trend of youth becoming more and more pro-life," Holly Smith, director of youth outreach for the National Right to Life Committee, said about the poll.