BeliefNet Writers Mistakenly Say Abortion Makes Small Impact on Elections

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

BeliefNet Writers Mistakenly Say Abortion Makes Small Impact on Elections

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 18
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Every election cycle, the naysayers come out of the woodwork to pontificate that abortion doesn’t make much of an impact on the elections. Most of the pundits claim few voters care about abortion or base their votes on it — likely to try to suppress the strong advantage the pro-life community has.

BeliefNet writer David Gibson claims that abortion is playing a big role in the elections are overstated because "evidence of how that is happening is scant."

Gibson claims polls show "that abortion barely registers" and that "it cuts both ways" with a handful both pro-life and pro-abortion voters saying they vote based on abortion.

The problem is that Gibson’s post ignores both the impact that abortion has in presidential races decided within a percentage point on the popular vote and how the pro-life side has a much stronger intensity than the pro-abortion side.
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 39 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of those 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.

BeliefNet’s Steve Waldman followed up the post with one of his own claiming " abortion shifts very few votes" especially "when it comes to most Catholics."

He claims "one of the great myths of American politics is that the abortion fracas is largely about the Catholic vote. It’s not." Instead, Waldman claims that only evangelical voters are driven by abortion.

However, polls don’t bear that out.

A September National Scientific Survey Center poll found both active Catholics and evangelicals are less likely to vote for a candidate who takes pro-abortion positions.

The survey found 62 percent of churchgoing (or active) Catholics would be less likely to vote for a candidate like Obama who voted against a law to protect babies “born alive and unharmed” after an abortion. Another 69 percent of evangelicals said they would be less likely as well.

Asked if they would vote for a presidential candidate with a different abortion view than their own, 48 percent of evangelicals and 42 percent of active Catholics said no while just 39 percent of evangelicals and 40 percent of active Catholics said yes.

Looking at abortion in general, all Catholics and evangelicals agreed that abortion is morally wrong with 78 percent of active Catholics saying it is morally wrong all or most of the time and 81 percent of evangelicals say the same thing.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.