Abortion a Key Issue in Battleground States, Gives McCain Advantage on Obama
by Steven Ertelt
September 19, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — To hear the political pundits, the issue of abortion is completely off the radar screen for most voters and its importance pales in comparison to other issues. That’s not so, especially in three key presidential battleground states, according to a new Marist poll.
A new Marist College poll of voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania finds abortion the second, fourth and fifth most important issue, respectively, for voters in what observers say are three of the most important states.
In all three polls involving several hundreds registered voters in each state, Marist asked, "When deciding your vote for president, which one of the following issues is most important to you."
Ohio voters named "social issues like abortion" as the second most important issue (tied with national security) with 11 percent of voters saying so. Some 18 percent of McCain supporters named abortion (third highest) while seven percent of Obama voters did (tied for fourth).
Abortion ranked higher than health care, Iraq, education, taxes, environment, illegal immigration and undecided.
Because more of the voters making a presidential decision based on abortion cite McCain as their preference, it appears abortion gives McCain an 11 percent advantage over Obama.
In Michigan, Marist found abortion to be the fourth most important issue (for 8 percent of voters) with 13 percent of McCain backers (third highest) and 4 percent of Obama supporters saying so (fifth). That appears to give McCain a 9 percent advantage among abortion-minded voters.
There, abortion was named more important than health care, taxes, education, environment, illegal immigration and undecided.
In Pennsylvania, abortion came in fifth with 8 percent saying it is important. That breaks down to 17 percent of McCain backers citing abortion and just two percent of Obama backers.
Though abortion is of lower importance in Pennsylvania, it appears to give McCain a 15 percentage point advantage among the voters making decisions based on it — nearly a 9-1 difference.
Abortion ranked higher in voters’ minds than taxes, education, environment, illegal immigration, and undecided.
Other polls have also shown abortion to be more important to voters than the mainstream media or political pundits would admit. In August, a survey from the Pew Forum showed more than one-third of Americans say abortion is important to their presidential vote, with 39 percent saying so.
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.
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.
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