A recent Gallup poll takes a range of issues in which respondents are asked if it is morally acceptable or not. The 19 issues are regarded as “Highly acceptable, “Largely acceptable,” “Contentious,” “Largely unacceptable,” and “Highly unacceptable.” Abortion, along with doctor-assisted suicide, is regarded as contentious, and, according to Gallup, the “moral acceptability [is] at or near record high.” Still, these issues only enjoy 42 percent and 52 percent of moral acceptability, respectively. Further down in the analysis of the poll, these numbers are broken down by political party.
When the abortion issue is broken down by acceptability for political party, only Democrats show a majority support, at 59 percent, which even then, is not such a high majority. It also certainly is not high enough to reflect the extreme position of the current Democratic national platform, and its party leaders who have such a preoccupation with supporting abortion, including President Barack Obama and DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Independents, who are usually split in the middle between the two parties, as noted by Gallup and clear in the poll, regard abortion as morally acceptable at only 41 percent. This is the issue in which there is the biggest gap between Independents and Democrats. Only 28 percent of Republicans regard abortion as morally acceptable.
While both parties should take note on how these percentages reflect voter values, it is especially important that the GOP does so. When only just over a quarter of a party’s voters find such an issue to be morally acceptable, a political party certainly does not need to consider supporting it more. And, perhaps this is one such issue where the GOP can even win over Independents.
Further analysis by Gallup mentions that views of Republican respondents have shown regard of issues being more morally acceptable since 2001, when these questions were first asked. These include same-sex relations, pre-marital sex and divorce. Abortion is not listed as one of these issues. And, in response to those members of the GOP establishment who may claim that abortion is not an important topic or one the party needs to compromise are, in order to attract voters, Gallup mentions that “…Republicans’ views have changed little.”
Another Gallup poll, which was released days prior to the above mentioned one, also reflects this. This poll shows that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, compared to 46 percent who consider themselves pro-choice. While the split is narrow enough for Gallup to accurately claim that “U.S. Still Split on Abortion[,]” when the breakdown is examined further, this time by importance of issue for voters, the gap is certainly more noteworthy.
The numbers are slightly different from those who regard abortion as morally acceptable or unacceptable versus those who consider themselves pro-life or pro-choice, but the idea is the same in that abortion should not be ignored completely as an issue for voters, particularly for the Republican party.
Again, Gallup counteracts those in the GOP who wish to ignore the abortion issue or say it is not important, when analysis of the poll says “[i]t is thus remarkable that the percentage of voters saying a candidate’s position on abortion is paramount to their voter has not only remained constant, but has also increased slightly.” Let that be a lesson to the GOP for 2014 mid-term elections and beyond, especially with what else the Gallup poll shows when it is broken down further.
Almost one-quarter, at 24 percent, of pro-life voters will only vote for a candidate who shares their view on abortion. And exactly half consider it to be “one of many important factors.” For those who “[d]on’t see abortion as a major issue,” there is a gap of double digits between pro-life and pro-choice voters. Only 21 percent of pro-life voters have this view, as opposed to 32 percent of pro-choice voters.
Abortion may be regarded as a “contentious” issue, according to Gallup, and it is rightly so considering how much it divides Americans who are passionate on this divisive issue. But, just because it is contentious does not mean that political parties need to stay away from addressing it, or addressing both sides of the issue, as the Democratic party truly ought to do. Regardless, it is time for both political parties to stand up and recognize the importance of the life issue, or at least those within their party who do. The polls certainly reflect it.