Exit Polling Data Shows Barack Obama Win Based on Economy, Not Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Exit polling data form the 2008 presidential election did not directly address the question of abortion as it did in the 2000 and 2004 elections. That’s because the victory for Barack Obama appears to be unrelated to social issues, with the lion’s share of voters saying they voted based on the economy.
Exit polls found anywhere from 80-90 percent of voters cited economic issues in various questions as what guided their decisions.
The national exit polls, involving almost 18,000 voters in most of the top battleground states, shows 34 percent of Americans take a self-described conservative position on political issues.
Another 44 percent take a moderate position and only 22 percent say they are liberals.
Some 42 percent of voters recognized Obama’s positions as too liberal and of the 30 percent of voters who decided for president based on who shared their values, McCain won 66-31 percent.
Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, says the election results are not a refutation of the pro-life position.
"The American people do not share Barack Obamas extreme and offensive views on abortion. They never have and they never will," he said.
"The coming four years will see a widening gap between the people and their President on this fundamental issue. As Americans come to know how extreme his position is, the intensity of the struggle to protect these children will only increase," he added.
"It would be a serious mistake for people to think that this election means the pro-life movement has no political power," Pavone added.
The pro-life movement made Supreme Court appointments a top issue and McCain performed better among voters who thought the high court was an issue in the race or a factor in their voting decision.
The data shows pro-life advocates need to work overtime to reach their base the next time around.
While 54 percent of Protestant voters (74 percent of evangelicals) backed McCain Obama won the Catholic vote by a 54-45 percentage point margin. That shows some of the misleading and confusing messages given by groups like Catholics United and the Matthew 25 Network may have misled voters into thinking Obama wasn’t so vehemently pro-abortion.
Weekly voters went to McCain by a 55-40 percentage point margin — showing the pro-life efforts to reach them worked. It also means pro-life advocates need to re-tune their educational efforts to the majority of people who are not regular churchgoers.
The exit polling data confirms McCain’s campaign made a comeback in the last days of the election as a majority of the six percent of voters who made their decision in the last three days or last week of the campaign sided with him.
That coincides with the efforts by pro-life groups to raise abortion awareness and the distribution of millions of pro-life voter guides from groups such as National Right to Life, Priests for Life and the Christian Coalition.
The election results also show the McCain campaign could have done better with more voter outreach.
Some 26 percent of voters said the Obama campaign contacted them during the campaign to ask for their vote and provide information but only 19 percent say they heard from the McCain campaign.
Exit polls also showed Americans supported Obama with reservations. Some 48 percent said he is not qualified to be president and 44 percent said they were either "concerned" about an Obama presidency or "scared" of one.
The pro-life movement also apparently did not do enough to defend Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, from attacks.
Some 60 percent of voters responded to the attacks on her by saying she was not qualified to become president while 38 percent said she would be qualified.
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