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US: Pro-Life/Choice (Gallup-5/7-10)


Gallup Poll
5/7-10/09; 1,015 adults, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

National

With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?

    51% Pro-life
    42% Pro-choice

    Women
    49% Pro-life
    44% Pro-choice

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"With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation's policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans -- and, in particular, Republicans -- seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.

It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public's understanding of what it means to be "pro-choice" slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction."

(source)

 

Comments
Stillow:

Wow....very intresting results here, even women by a pretty healthy margin of 5 are becoming more pro life. I agree with the assertion that Obama's stance on abortion has moved the pro choice stance left considering his position on infants born alive.
In general in my opinion htis is good, abortion is a horrible thing....its soemthing that belongs in the Dark Ages, not the 21st century.

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PantsB:

Seems a clear outlier given not only Gallup's past results but the complete lack of evidence of this massive shift in any other relevant polls. CNN and Quinnipiac have both had abortion polls in the last month and while both saw some statistically insignificant movement towards the pro-life position, they both also found majority pro-choice sentiment outside the Margin of Error. A poll that asks us to believe that 1 in 10 Americans spontaneously flipped their position on an issue that has become so entrenched and that has had little to no coverage in this time period is one that is rightfully going to be met skeptically.

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Manning:

This poll is suspect how could the polls reverse in a matter of 12 months over a time in which Obama, the most pro-choice canidate ever,won by a landslide.....not to mention abortions went up under GWB not down. also South Dakota had a ban on abortion on the ballot and it lost South Dakota a very red-state......I personally dont like abortion but i dont like the fact that a government has right to make your personal decisions for you....the only thing i take away from this poll is Americans dont like abortion but they also respect individual freedom to choose....

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PantsB:

I think it is likely the problem with the poll was partisan weighting. From the report:

The source of the shift in abortion views is clear in the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey. The percentage of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) calling themselves "pro-life" rose by 10 points over the past year, from 60% to 70%, while there has been essentially no change in the views of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

The Republican subset increased 10% in the pro-life response. The Democratic subset remained unchanged, actually becoming 1% more pro-choice. The overall sample increased 7%.

Mathematically this should not be so. Overall partisan self-identification has increased greatly among Democrats and Democratic leaners. The GOP has been "purified" and become more extreme as moderates have abandoned the party. Just doing the math strongly suggests that GOP and their leaners are oversampled.

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Manning:

U.S. voters say 56 - 31 percent, including 60 - 34 percent among Catholic voters, that Notre Dame University should not rescind its invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at the university's commencement, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1298

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Stillow:

Manning

I am confused by your comments. People who lean left or self identitied liberals often make the claim they are personally opposed to abortion, but they don't want the g'ment making there choices for them. By definition a liberal wants the g'ment to step in and make choices on behalf of the individual by varioues means, dependency, safety, etc. So I alwys get confused by the excuse liberals use to being opposed to abortion, saying you do not want the g'ment to run your life is inconsistant with all other liberal views.
They want to tell you what you can and cannot drive, what type of light bulb you can use, what kind of food you cannot eat a restaraunt, where you can and cannot smoke, etc, etc...the lis tgoes on forever of things liberals want to control about your life, why is it this one issue you flip flop and support individual rights? I have no issue with your favoring abortion, its the reason you cited for favoring it....

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Manning:

Stillow,

One can make an argument with the "Conservative Right" the war on drugs controls what you can and cannot smoke in fact Reagan era policies put you in jail for what you smoke at least Obama's drug czar is putting an end to that. secondly there is the issue of "intelligent design" no scientist takes this seriously yet i expect religous lobbies to make policy and regulate science classes thats pure "MARXISM". and the right wants the Government to tell you who you can marry,what language you can speak,what religons are supperior,and the list goes on and on.

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Stillow:

Manning

That is all correct. I am a social libertarian and have told socail conservatives on this same site to knock off there dopy opposoition to gay mairage....I agree about war on drugs, etc...all but intelligent design, what you said is only half correct, most scientists beleive in evolution, but only back to the point of the big bang, at that point science cannot answer where life came from. Many many of them beleive there was intelligent design that created the enviroment for evolution to take place. Its that old story of the man walking thru the woods and he comes to a cabin sitting in the middle of the woods....would you assume the cabin evolved to exist that way, or did someone have to build it? So to say scientists do not support a certian level of intelligent design is not a fair statement, I think most people, an overwhelming majority beleive in some level of intelligent design, probably alogn the lines of most scientists who say at some point someone or soemthing ahd to create the enviroment for life to exist, to evolve and to eventually bring us here.
But you very cleverly did not answer my question, you pointed to wrong behavior by social conservatives to jusitfy your own....I ask again, why the inconsistancy, you want g'ment involved in our lvies at every level except this one issue where you think the g'ment has no place making this decision, but all other decisions seem to be ok if made by g'ment on your behalf. I am genuinely tryign to understand the logic of a liberal on this issue. Just as I cal lout the social conservatives on there inconsistancies, I do the same with social liberals..........

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sjt22:

I agree that the weighting is probably driving some of this. Republicans identifiers are at a low point, and those who remain with the party identify as more pro-life than those who have left an become moderates. I would suspect that a faulty weighting of Republicans versus independents accounts for some of this shift.

The other thing here is that we're highlighting the wrong question. Pro-life is a fuzzy term which means different things for different people, and which does not line up directly with support for the right to abortion.

According to this same survey (which is possibly miss-weighted as discussed) only 23 percent of respondents say abortion should always be illegal. The same percentage say it should always be legal. The remaining group says it should be legal in most or certain circumstances. So a vast majority of Americans actually believe abortion should be legal depending on the situation.

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Stillow:

That is to vague, depending on the situation. You are right, both terms of pro life and pro choice are misleading. Overwhelming number of people for example are opposed to partial birth abortion, I think the last numbr I saw was like 75+ percent oppose partial birth or late term abortions...it seems that the closer back towards the moment of conception you get, the more likely peole are to consider themsleves pro choice. People seem to have a much easier time ttermianting the infant in the first trimester than in the third.
You probably have an euqal # of those who are always pro life no matter what vs those who are always pro choice no matter what, but the majoirty is somewhere in between. Not wnting to remove all abortion rights, but are hesitant to support late term abortions. The hardcore on oth sides will always be hardcore, but there needs to be and I think most people want some difinitive laws and guidelines placed on abortion. I''m pro life with some exceptions such as rape, liffe of the mother at risk, etc. But I am willing to compromise that many feeldifferently and I would be willing to support a ban on late term abortion and partial birth abortions. And I think most people would. It really should be decided early on in the first trimester, because once you hit trimester 2 and see an ultrasound, its a real baby, I've seen my kids at 16 weeks and they are bouncing around, sticking out tongues, getting hiccups, it is simply not justified i nthis dayand age to terminate a child that developed!

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IdahoMulato:

I believe that God created the World. I believe that marriage is between a man & woman. I don't believe in abortion. I'm pro-life! period. I'm social conservative. However, I don't care what people do with their lives. People can choose to have sex with animals ro whatever I don't care. My job is to make deciples of my creator, who created me & gave Himself to me. I don't care what anybody thinks of me. I don't vote GOP for many obvious reasons.

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Bigmike:

I would like to comment on several of the above points.

PantsB:
Seems a clear outlier....

I would not call it an outlier when there is an obvious trend toward pro-life. This latest with the larger margin may be closer to the upper MOE for pro-life support. But it would take more data to convince me it is an outlier.

Manning:
This poll is suspect how could the polls reverse in a matter of 12 months over a time in which Obama, the most pro-choice canidate ever,won by a landslide.....

I would suggest that people casts there votes based solely on this issue less than they have in the past. Given the issues with the economy and the war, that would seem to make sense. Even IdahoMulato says he does not believe in abortion but he also does not vote for the GOP.

Perhaps having the most pro-choice Pres ever is another reason for these results. The various pro-choice organizations are not out there campaigning, telling women they are in danger of losing this "right."

Personally, I am a fiscal conservative and a believer in the stricter interpretations of the constitution. So, in my view, the only way to overturn Roe v Wade is a constitutional amendment. Practically, it ain't happening friends. The only other choice would be to have the Supremes review the previous decision, and that should only happen if and only if there is some kind of compelling evidence not introduced the first time around. I find abortion sickening, but our system of govt should not be tossed out over any one issue.

The only purpose this argument really serves is to divide and conquer.

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Stillow:

Bigmike

You are dead on saying its only purpose is to divide and conquer. Both parties shove these wedge issues down our throats to keep us fighting over these social issues...while g'ment as an entity assumes more and more power and imposes more and more taxation. No matter which party controls DC, the same thing happens for the past 20 years, spending goes up, entitlements increase and g'ment gets bigger and bigger. Doesn't matter if its Bush sr, clinton, Bush or Obama...the same exact thing happens, only the rhetoric changes. Both parties are addicted to debt spending and big g'ment...and both parties are now in love with entitlements...its basically become a contest of who can spend more money and give away more g'ment programs to intrest groups...that is all it is...it used to just be the Dems who did that, but after Reagan, the GOP became addicted to big out of control g'ment. Ever since Bush sr. lied about raising taxes I have been a registered independent. voted for Perot in 92, Clinton in 96, Bush in 2000, abstained in 2004 and Barr in 2008.
you are right, divide the people so they don't pay attention to what g'ment is really doing.

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FuzzyR:

Stillow:

There is one big difference between parties: Under Clinton, the number of abortions declined at twice the rate that it did under Bush.

With the current recession, which is sending women to abortion clinics in record numbers, we may see those numbers increase for the first time in a long time; however, given differences in Democratic priorities compared to Republican, we're likely to see a more rapid decline again, once the economy rights itself.

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Stillow:

FuzzyR

Unfortunately your premise is flawed. A president doesn't determine how many abortions are conducted. i don't thinka woman said, oh hey clinton is president I think I will keep the baby. Or under Bush say, hey Bush is pres I think I will abort. Abortions are the result of social trends, the 90's saw a redeuction due to the post Reagan era which focused more on family and pro life topics.
...and also unfortunately the economy cannot recover but maybe for a bief period. Because like Bush, Obama is spending to much money...and with countries like China now signaling they will not finance our debt if our spending continues, we will be forced to to print the money we need, which will have a hyper-inflationary affect on our currency, thus dragging the economy to worse than it was now, the late 70's and possible the early 30's.
So your hopes of lowinerg the # of abortions because of Obama's fixing of the economy is flawed....you cannot eat your way out of being overweight and you cannot spend your way out of debt....we can all live beyond our means for a short period of time by borrowing which is the what the g'ment is doing...but eventually the bill comes due and ya gotta pay the piper. History is going to look at Bush and Obama as the two most irresponsible presidents when it came to fiscal matters....as combined they have run up more debt than in the previous 42 presidents.
I would urge you nto to give a rpesident to much credit or blame for things that society does. He is not a king....but fiscally they are much more powerful players and these two Bush and Obama are destorying the American economic system with over spending and entitlements. Hyperinflation is coming....to much debt spending always has that affect, its happened to every country every time who is in our position.....

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PantsB:

BigMike:

That's the thing, there isn't a movement in the polls towards pro-life. Just before this there was an unusual Pew poll that showed the gap much more narrow than other polls recently and historically. Nate Silver at 538 did an analysis of polling on abortion, both using the pro-life/pro-choice question and the always/sometimes/rarely/never legal framing. In each category and in aggregate there was a static situation. And now it is clear that this was an outlier and my suspicions on sampling/weighting were correct and the reason this occurred was because a large oversampling of Republicans.

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Stillow:

You simply cannot get accurate numbers asking a question of are you pro life or pro choice in temrs of abortion....its impossible. Because as I stated, the closer to the moment of conception, the more pro choice people are,the later the preganancy goes, the mroe pro life people are. So asking the question like this doesn't do the topic justice. If you ask this question and then ask:

Are you pro life or pro choice when it comes to late term abortion or partial birth abortion?

Asking that question you will see a giant shift towards the pro life position. The generality of the question is misleading...abortion has to many wrinkles in it to ask the question this geneircally and expect accurate results. People overwhelmingly do not support 3rd trimester abortions, but they overwhelmingly support 1st trimester abortions.
Its a topic requires more detailed questioning to get accurate public opinion.

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