by Steven Ertelt
February 5, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Exit polls showed a majority of Republicans in most Super Tuesday states take a strong pro-life position but John McCain had problems getting their support even in states he won. That could be a problem for the Arizona senator even though he opposes abortion and has called for overturning Roe v. Wade.
The data showed that, in the states McCain won on Super Tuesday, he failed capture a plurality of the pro-life vote in most of them.
In every case, McCain’s share of the pro-life vote was less than his overall vote total in the state and he relied on his strength with pro-abortion Republicans to win. That could help him appeal to independent voters in November, but points to concerns about his ability to hold the Republican pro-life base.
Although McCain won Missouri and Oklahoma, pro-life voters there, encouraged by endorsements from statewide pro-life groups, sided with Huckabee.
McCain beat Huckabee 33-32 percent in Missouri but lost the pro-life vote 37-28 and he won Oklahoma on a 37-33 percent margin but lost among pro-life voters 38-32 percent. In both cases, McCain had to rely on pro-abortion voters to offset double digit disadvantages.
In fact, McCain came in third among pro-life voters in Missouri as Romney captured 30 percent.
The senator also won California over Mitt Romney on a 44-27 percent margin but Romney won among pro-life voters there 33-31 percent over McCain. A majority of California Republicans are pro-life and, had McCain not had a 51-28 percentage advantage among pro-abortion Republicans, he would have lost the state.
Even in his home state of Arizona, which he won 47-34 percent over Romney, McCain lost to Romney with pro-life Republicans 46-34 percent.
Romney also beat McCain among pro-life advocates in Connecticut 42-40 despite losing the state 52-33 percent.
McCain only led among pro-life Republicans in Illinois, New Jersey and New York of the nearly two dozen states voting in Super Tuesday. Yet, in each state, his share of the pro-life vote was less than his total share of the state vote.
Exit polling data showed that Huckabee won the primary states of Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee because of his strong showing among pro-life voters.
He captured 47 percent of the pro-life vote in Alabama, 60 percent in Arkansas, 41 percent in Georgia and 39 percent in Tennessee. McCain came in second with pro-life voters in each of the states except Georgia, where he placed third.
Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that Huckabee’s strong pro-life position resulted in wins in the southern states and led to him siphoning some of the support from McCain in others.
Pro-life voters supported three strong candidates but ultimately the victory went to Governor Huckabee who has an unparalleled record of direct, measurable actions resulting in laws passed and lives saved, Harris said.
Romney also won the pro-life vote in Massachusetts and Utah, two home states that political observers expected him to win and that McCain and Huckabee didn’t contest.