by Steven Ertelt
June 22, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The issue of abortion is seen as a top issue in the 2008 presidential election by 40 percent of Americans, indicating the contentious subject still plays a prominent role in how people case their ballot for president. Previous polls have shown that the pro-life position gives presidential candidates an edge.
The new figure comes from a survey the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted.
It found that abortion is important for 38 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans and with Republicans tending to be more pro-life than Democrats that translates into an advantage for pro-life candidates.
Other political issues such as terrorism and immigration scored higher on the Pew survey in terms of whether a voter considered it an important issue. For GOP voters, environmental issues ranked lower than abortion in terms of importance.
The Pew poll also found that, among Republican voters, those who are more likely to say that abortion is a key topic in determining their vote are less likely to support pro-abortion ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Republican voters have previously turned away pro-abortion candidates from capturing the primary nod, including former California Gov. Pete Wilson and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. Republicans haven’t had a pro-abortion nominee since Gerald Ford in 1976.
Polls have also shown that abortion is a winning issue for GOP presidential candidates.
Post-election polling after the 2004 presidential elections found that President Bush’s pro-life stance gave him an edge over pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry.
A 2004 Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll found that 42 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of voters cast their ballots for President Bush while 15% voted for Kerry, giving Bush a 9 percent advantage on the issue of abortion.
Eight percent of voters in the Wirthlin poll indicated abortion was the "most important" issue affecting their votes and Bush won among those voters by a six to two percent margin, leading Kerry by four percentage points among the most intense abortion voters.
Pew conducted its new survey from May 30-June 3 and interviewed 1,503 adults nationwide.