Poll: Young Voters Oppose Obama Abortion Record, HHS Mandate

National   Steven Ertelt   Jun 22, 2012   |   12:10PM    Washington, DC

Students for Life of America commissioned a new poll of young voters that finds they do not like the pro-abortion record of President Barack Obama and also don’t favor his HHS mandate that forces religious groups to pay for abortion-causing drugs and birth control.

Students for Life of America commissioned one of the first-wide scale quantitative studies of 18-24 year olds in the 2012 election season — important because of the impact young voters made in 2008 in propelling Obama to office.

“The survey research project, which garnered 800 responses, included a special focus on life issues, allowing young voters’ own voices to cut through the ‘conventional wisdom’ and forge a new narrative,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of SFLA. “Indeed, survey findings showed little connection to the overwhelmingly liberal attitudes lazily ascribed to these voters – confirming an increasing pro-life trend among Americans while presumably giving Big Abortion heartburn over the battles ahead.”

“Our results speculate that when young adults learn more about the President’s radical policies on abortion and the curtailing of religious freedom, their support for him drops,” Hawkins continued. “We found that more young adults are less likely to vote for a candidate who forces someone to go against their conscience or religious beliefs, which is part of the mandate included in the President’s healthcare law.”

The poll found the HHS Mandate carries negative political currency for two-fifths of young voters as the plurality of young Americans, including every major demographic and geographic group, said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports forcing institutions to pay for procedures that violate their conscience or religious beliefs (42 % vs. 24%).

Although Obama led with the young adult voters surveyed nearly one-half (49%) graded his tenure as “fair” or “poor”.

Hawkins said the poll showed young voters were particularly upset about Obama’s vote against the Born Alive Protect Act while a State Senator in Illinois and 34 percent said it made them less likely to vote for him in November.

“Obama’s image suffered an even more pronounced slide among undecided voters (43% “less likely”), indicating that the ballot test may narrow if the President’s personal popularity is tempered with a remembrance of his radical voting record from the not-too-distant past,” she said.

About abortion in general, the poll found students split on the issue.

“While youth were much less likely to self-identify as pro-life than the public as a whole, there was also scant evidence of a desire for total and complete abortion on-demand, a characterization that seems to escape much of the major media narrative about this generation,” Hawkins explained. “This nuance was particularly evident when a 27%-plurality selected “abortion should only be legal in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother” as the position most similar to their own on abortion. In fact, condensing the six positions showed near-parity between the two sides (45% pro-choice, 44% pro-life).”

But the poll also found students were critically uninformed about abortion and politics.

“Among the most telling responses included that nearly half (48%) of college-age adults did not know whether Planned Parenthood offered abortions to pregnant women,” Hawkins said. “The knowledge deficit also colored their perspectives on the Presidential candidates’ positions on abortion. Nearly one-third failed to ascribe any view on abortion for each candidate (32% for Obama, 33% for Romney).”

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Nearly three-quarters (74%) of 18-24 year olds support making sex-selective abortions illegal in the United States, the poll also found.

Students for Life of America commissioned the polling company, inc./WomanTrend to conduct an online survey of 805 adults ages 18 to 24 from May 25 – June 1, 2012.  Opt-in online panels of respondents were utilized and targeted specifically for adults ages 18-24, while also including controls for gender, race/ethnicity, and geographic region.

The original survey contained a total of 45 questions, including one screener, 27 substantive inquiries, and 17 demographic queries. The margin of error for the survey is ± 3.4% at a 95% confidence interval.