Survey: 39 Percent of Americans Say Abortion Important to Presidential Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Survey: 39 Percent of Americans Say Abortion Important to Presidential Vote

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 22
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — While the media and political skeptics say Americans are no longer interested in the issue of abortion, a new survey from the Pew Forum shows otherwise. It finds more than one-third of Americans say abortion is important to their presidential vote, with 39 percent saying so.

The number is down from the figure Pew found in 2004, when 47 percent of Americans said abortion played a role in determining their presidential vote.

The Pew survey also found that "Voters who are strongly opposed to abortion are much more likely than other voters to say that these are very important voting issues."

That confirms other polls showing that pro-life voters have a much higher voting intensity than voters who support abortions. That intensity has been responsible for giving pro-life candidates like John McCain an edge over pro-abortion candidates like Barack Obama.

In fact, the Pew survey found 47 percent of McCain supporters say abortion is a top issue affecting their vote and just 36 percent of Obama voters say the same. That gives McCain an 11 percent advantage on the issue of abortion and voter intensity.

Of the voters who haven’t settled on a presidential candidate, 36 percent say abortion is important to their decision.

The Pew poll also found voters who are more likely to attend church are more likely to say abortion affects their voting decision.

While 64 percent of white Protestants who attend church weekly say abortion affects their vote, just 35 percent who say they rarely attend church say abortion is important.

White Catholic voters who attend church regularly come in at 44 percent with just 22 percent of non-active Catholics saying abortion affects their vote.

The Pew poll also found that younger voters are more inclined to say abortion has an impact on their vote — proving that the issue is becoming more salient with the public, not less.

Some 44 percent of 18-29 year-old voters say abortion matters to their vote, compared with 40 percent of those 30-49, and 36 percent for those 50-64. Older voters come in at a 41 percent clip.

Women are also more interested in abortion and the presidential race than men, with 44 percent of women saying abortion affects their vote and only 35 percent for men.

The poll appears to show that there isn’t a lowering of an interest in abortion as much as there is an increase in the concern about other issues.

Due to rising gas prices and a troubled economy, Americans say those issues are top concerns — more so than in 2004. The interest in the economy as a top issue jumped nine percent and the concern over energy issues jumped 23 percent.

Interest in moral values, which some voters include topics like abortion, stayed about the same as in 2004, with 63 percent saying it affects their vote then and 61 percent saying so now.

Concerning abortion itself, Pew found men and women are just as likely to be pro-life, black Americans are more pro-life than white Americans, younger voters are more pro-life than middle aged adults, evangelicals are more pro-life than mainline church members, and Hispanic Catholics are more pro-life than white Catholics.


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