Pew Poll Finds 42 Percent of Americans Don’t Know Barack Obama Pro-Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pew Poll Finds 42 Percent of Americans Don’t Know Barack Obama Pro-Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 1
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Looking further into the new Pew Research center poll on abortion, the survey reveals that a substantial percentage of Americans don’t know that President Barack Obama has a strong pro-abortion position and record. The poll found 42 percent of Americans are unaware.

The poll finds that four-in-ten Americans are unaware of Obama’s position on abortion, although pro-life advocates are most well-informed — which is a testimony to the work of pro-life organizations.

On the other hand, independent voters and abortion advocates are less informed that Obama has been stridently pro-abortion.

While just 25 percent of conservative Republicans and 36 percent of moderate Republicans don’t know Obama is pro-abortion, 42 percent of independents and 51 percent of conservative and moderate Democrats don’t know. Some 32 percent of liberal Democrats know Obama backs abortion.

Pew asked a follow-up question to those who know Obama’s position to determine whether the particular groups believed Obama would go too far in promoting abortion, not far enough or whether he is handling abortion about right.

Four of the five groups have at least twice as many who said they worried Obama would go too far in promoting abortion as those who said he would not go far enough.

Conservative Republicans worried he would go too far by more than a 7-1 ratio, moderate Republicans were worried by a 3-1 ratio, independents by a more than 4-1 ratio and even conservative Democrats by a 2-1 ratio.

Just 10 percent of conservative Republicans, 33 percent of moderate Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 36 percent of conservative Democrats felt Obama would handle the abortion issue about right.

Only four percent of all Americans say they are worried Obama will not go far enough in promoting abortion as president.

University of Alabama political scientist Michael New says Obama’s solid pro-abortion record is playing a role in shifting American attitudes in favor of the pro-life perspective.

"Many pundits state that this increase in pro-life sentiment is due to the fact that we now have a president who supports legal abortion. There is probably some truth to this," he says. "President Obama has certainly galvanized opponents of abortion. His actions — coupled with the negative publicity generated by pro-life groups — has probably led some people with conflicting views on the issue to self-identify as pro-life."

But New says there is "an overlooked reason" for the move to the pro-life direction — Obama’s inability to argue the pro-abortion perspective.

New says Obama is "the most visible pro-choice elected official in America" but is "really not a very articulate proponent of abortion."

"When asked about sanctity-of-life issues, President Obama almost never defends legal abortion. Instead, President Obama seems a little dodgy and somewhat evasive," New says. "He often mentions the need to find common ground an expresses and interest in trying to reduce the abortion rate."

"Now on the policy side, he has done nothing to offer much encouragement to pro-lifers. However, President Obama’s unwillingness to make a solid case for legal abortion is likely weakening pro-choice sentiment," New concludes.

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