President Barack Obama has already crafted a record that easily makes him the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history, but the abortion activist group NARAL says Obama will have a better chance to win re-election if he would promote abortion more.
The pro-abortion group released the results of a new poll yesterday that it claims shows abortion “provides an opening for President Obama to create a sharp contrast with anti-choice Republicans.” The poll claims to measure attitudes among so-called “defectors” — women voters who strongly supported Obama in 2008 but are not as inclined to support him this time around because of the failing economy. NARAL suggest promoting abortion more will get them on board with the re-election campaign.
“This time around, we know that choice [abortion] can provide a way to cut through all of the other data points and all of the other message points that voters are hearing during a tough campaign,” NARAL Political Director Elizabeth Shipp said.
NARAL says 40 percent of the women they surveyed said they could never vote for a presidential candidate who is pro-life, even though pro-life presidential candidates have historically had an advantage because of their pro-life positions. The NARAL survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic pollster, claims women trust Obama more on abortion than any other issue — with them giving Obama a 59-point edge on abortion compared to a 46 point advantage on national security and a 40-point lead on the economy over Republicans.
At the same time, Shipp admitted that promoting abortion isn’t going to be seen — even by hardcore abortion backers — as important as fixing the economy.
“We know that the role of choice in a landscape dominated by the economy is going to be an interesting one for us,” she said. “We get that.”
NARAL will try to introduce the issue of abortion, in part by focusing on attacking the pro-life Republican presidential candidates seeking to replace Obama.
“All of the candidates for the Republican nomination oppose a woman’s right to choose,” the group said. “Over the next year, we’ll be working in day-in and day-out to highlight the contrast between pro-choice President Obama and his extreme anti-choice Republican opponents.”
Despite NARAL’s confidence that abortion will help Obama, polling data shows about one-third of voters in the last presidential election and as many as 30 percent of voters in the November 2010 mid-term election say abortion is an issue that effected the way they vote for presidential or congressional candidates.
Following the 2010 and 2008 elections, the Polling Company surveyed American voters and, following the 2004 presidential election, Wirthlin Worldwide conducted a nationwide post-election poll. In each case, the polls found a sizable number of voters are motivated by abortion and, of those voters, they choose pro-life candidates by wide margins.
The last presidential election found almost 34 percent of voters said, according to the Polling Company survey of 800 voters, that the abortion issue affected their vote. Some 21.5 percent said they voted for John McCain while 12.25 percent indicated they voted for Obama. That gave McCain, who, while not fully pro-life, opposed abortion, a 9.25 percentage point advantage over the pro-abortion candidate.
The survey found 5 percent of voters said abortion was the single most important political issue guiding their vote. Of those voters, 4.5 percent supported McCain while just 0.5 percent backed Obama. The results make it clear that, had McCain not opposed abortion, he would have lost the 2008 election by a much larger margin.
In 2004, a Wirthlin Worldwide poll of 1,000 voters and a 3.1 percentage point margin of error, found similar results.
Some 39 percent of voters said abortion was one of the most important issues and 24 percent said they cast ballots for pro-life President George W. Bush while 15 percent indicated they voted for pro-abortion candidate John Kerry. That resulted in a 9 percentage point margin advantage for Bush, allowing him to stay in the White House for another four years. Some 8 percent of voters indicated abortion was the single most important issue and 6 percent of voters saying they voted for Bush while just 2 percent voted for Kerry — a 4 percentage point pro-life margin of victory among the voters most interested in abortion.
The importance of abortion and the advantage for pro-life candidates continued in the November 2010 congressional elections.
The Polling Company surveyed 834 voters with a 3.5 percent margin of error and found 30 percent of Americans say abortion was one of the most important issues — with 22 percent voting for pro-life candidates and 8 percent voting for pro-abortion candidates. That’s a net 14 percent advantage for pro-life candidates and it makes it clear the pro-life issue helped Republicans catapult to the majority in the House of Representatives and increase their numbers in the Senate.
That survey fond 4 percent of voters saw abortion as the most important issue — with 3 percent voting for pro-life candidates and 1 percent voting for abortion supporters. That resulted in a 2 percent pro-life advantage for Congressional candidates.
The results are important as the 2012 election moves forward and they show in real terms the advantage the pro-life Republican nominee would have against Obama, who has racked up a massive pro-abortion record.