September 05, 2008
Democrats Misplaying the Abortion Issue
One of the primary talking points against Sarah Palin from the left has been: "well, she's anti-choice. Women won't vote for here because of that."
It's the type of message we're used to hearing in this decidedly pro-choice state (note the recent Strategic Vision poll, showing only 26% of respondents favor overturning Roe v. Wade - a consistent answer to a question that this pollster consistently asks when in the field). It is not, however, true that such talking point logic actually holds - especially at the national level.
Gallup has some recent, interesting data exemplifying this point:
...as Gallup polling in 2008 and all recent past elections shows, only a small fraction of Americans are highly activated on the abortion issue. Most Americans downgrade the importance of abortion to their vote, saying either that it's not a major issue for them (37%), or that it's just one of many important issues they consider (49%). Only 13% of Americans told Gallup in May 2008 that they vote only for candidates for major offices who share their views on abortion. [emphasis added]
Let us stipulate that those 13% have pretty much already made up their minds in the Presidential race. Gallup has more:
...the abortion issue appears to be even less of a factor for independent women than it is for their partisan counterparts. According to Gallup's May 2008 Values and Beliefs survey, 20% of Republican women said they vote only for candidates who share their views on abortion, as did 14% of Democratic women but only 8% of independent women. [emphasis added]
And Gallup provides an example of all this playing out in action:
Although a third of Republican women are pro-choice, McCain's selection of Palin last Friday already appears to have helped him with his female Republican base. Republican women grew more likely to support McCain, not less likely, in polling from Saturday to Monday.
And that was before Palin's boffo speech.
Meanwhile, the common refrain we often hear in local political discourse is that swing voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal (or tolerant...or libertarian); see recent example here. That's true in much of the suburbs around Seattle, as it is in other battleground suburban areas such as key parts of suburban Philadelphia or the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.
It is not true, however, of the battleground states that may well shape this election, such Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the Midwest. Swing voters there are more likely to lean toward economic populism and social conservatism. This was a point discussed at some length in A Grand New Party as well as in the past by the National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru (here and here).
Indeed, being pro-choice is not a winning issue outside of urban-influenced political environments. And American electorates tend to greet candidates on both sides of the aisle who emphasize abortion as a major campaign issue as a bit too fervent a cultural warrior.
Thus, it is more than a little peculiar to watch Democrats jump up and down declaring insistently that Palin's pro-life views disqualify her from receiving the votes of women. The Obama campaign's choice to run radio ads specifically pushing the abortion issue in some of those aforementioned swing states strikes an even odder note.
Obama is particularly vulnerable on this issue given that while America remains divided in a complex fashion on the broader topic of abortion, it remains widely opposed to partial birth abortion and clearly in favor of laws protecting children that survive abortions (the topic of a major Obama fumble at his Saddleback church appearance and the days following).
On this issue, the data and electoral history show that political reality isn't consistent with what Democrats are currently trying to claim. But, that won't stop them from trying it would appear.
UPDATE: typos fixed.
Posted by Eric Earling at September 05, 2008
07:41 AM | Email This
And? I don't think that any reasonable person is going to think that a party plank about abortion is the issue that will decide the election in swing states. Economic populism is what is important.
But current polling suggests that Obama has healthy leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and that McCain will need to win Colorado, Ohio and Virginia to clinch a victory. It's not looking good for McCain.
Excellent post. I think you are correct in your assessment that locally swing voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, while in the Rust Belt, the trend is the opposite (i.e., economic populism and social conservatism). I think this is why Hillary had such a draw there.
I also agree that women should be categorized in the stereotypical roles the MSM trys to portray, and in the model that the Gloria Steinman's would want you to believe.
Locally, I don't think abortion will be the top issue. In my district, the 26th, there are two very close legislative races. The common two themes on both sides in my district are: education (#1) and transportation. The district is probably not normal when it comes to education needs. For example, in the Jan Angel (R) flyer we received the other day, she states that one of her goals is to work on the legislature defines what basic education is and fund it appropriately. You see the two school districts (Peninsula and South Kitsap) have had there struggles when it comes to education funding. Peninsula struggled for several years with failed bond measures that were simply to make up for the lack of funding provided for the state. South Kitsap has been trying since the mid-80's to build a second HS. There current one is way over capacity (2600+ students for only three grades), but the bond issues always just fall short. What is also different about the schools is the fact that they have a higher number than normal military families school children. This causes more fluxuation in year-to-year enrollment levels, and it also causes the districts to depend not only on State money, but also federal money that goes to cover educational needs for military family children. On the transportation end, the two big issues is the tolls on the Narrows bridge and Ferry system funding.
The polling on Roe is misleading. The biggest problem is that most people think that of Roe were overturned, abortion would automatically be illegal. Of course, that's pure nonsense. There would be no changes immediately, and even in the foreseeable future, most states would have very liberal abortion laws.
If you polled the question "Do you think that individual states should be able to have restrictions on abortion," you'd get 60+% of the vote. Probably upwards of 70%.
This is the first Republican convention in a long time that is aggressively pro-life.
Pro-life is becoming a better political position as Liberals abort themselves out of existance. With 35 years and nearly 1.5M abortions per year ... that's a lot of liberals who are contributing to the economy, art, research, education, and politics. Quite sad.
For example, the black community (voting heavily for the democrats) is becoming increasingly irrelavant politically due to their greater than average number of abortions -- what is even sadder is the reduction in the number of Blacks is exactly what Sanger via Planned Parenthood (ABCL and BCFA) stated as a goal of the organization. Source: Negro Project, Harlem Clinic, Malthusian Eugenics, "Say so" March. Sanger and others did their work with the view that blacks were inferior and their inferiority coupled with high birth rates hurt themselves economically and the country as a whole. Liberals kill with the best of intentions.
This is why I'm very optimistic about the pro-life cause unfortunately it will be victory through abject failure.
Just to clarify, as one of those 'fiscally conservative, socially libertarian' type people, I am adamantly opposed to abortion, just like anyone else would be - if they define life as beginning at conception.
I'm always tolerant of choices that affect no one but the person making the choice, but part of my libertarianism is to protect the property rights of everyone: They start with ownership of ones self.
If I didn't consider an embryo to be a human life, then logically I wouldn't care about abortion. But since I do, it must have the right of self ownership just like the mother, or my positions would be logically inconsistent.
Anyway, I like what I'm seeing on the Republican side of this right now. I still wish we could have been voting for Ron Paul this election, and I still think I'm going to regret a McCain in the white house, but not as much as an Obama.
6. One of the biggest problems the dem's won't talk about abortions. They want YOU to pay for it. Not the fools who really make it happen.
Past polling shows that the vast majority of Americans don't approve of aborting a baby. I believe that the only reason you get the numbers favoring Roe v Wade is because of a concerted effort by the left to muddy the facts and obscure the issue . . . as they do with most things that they advocate.
Anyway, most people I have spoken to really don't know what Roe v Wade addresses. For those like Facts I will explain: If Roe v Wade is overturned all it will mean is that the Feds won't fund abortions through their various welfare programs. That's it. Abortions will still be available to all that want one in the states that allow it (like Washington). McCain has said more than once that abortion rights is a states issue and that is why he is against Roe v Wade.
Once again, the left always obfuscates the issues they support because if they told the total truth, three-quarters of the country would stop supporting them. Just name the foolery. Feminism, the free market, energy, trade, schooling, security (that should be in quotes), the economy, transportation, housing, social security and on and on, the truth of their positions is never told. In fact what they do is hamstring these issues through government fiat and them blame the private sector for the problems. At that point they advocate more government intervention as the only "cure" for the problem. Health care is a perfect example of that right now.
Dumbo kid, "I don't think" is the first thing you've ever posted that most of us agree on.
"that any reasonable person"... sorry, since you have no idea what a "reasonable person" is, that disqualifies you from expressing a "reasonable person" opinion.
Andrew, I love how you just described your libertarianism as it relates to the Right to Life! Beautiful! In this election cycle, I've learned that there are a lot more of you, and it's very encouraging.
Eric, I'm not convinced that the figure from the Strategic Vision Poll acurately reflects the reality. Here's why: all it asks is, "do you favor overturning Roe vs. Wade?" You'd be amazed of how many people--outside of the circles who discuss politics, and outside the pro-life movememt and the pro-choice movement--don't know what Roe vs. Wade is. I've had people tell me they know what it is, and then they begin to describe what they THINK it is, they begin describing Miranda rights instead. Hard for us to believe, I know, but these issues just aren't main topics in their world.
So the Strategic Vision poll ought to put it another way, specifically describing what Roe vs. Wade is.
But regardless of what the percentage is, I don't think we should write Washington off as a "decidedly pro-choice state". People do change their opinions on these matters, especially if the debate is allowed to happen and when you have someone like Sarah Palin who lives such a positive example of being pro-life. And in this "decidedly pro-choice state" 7 cities are holding 40 days for Life events which could have major impact on the hearts and minds of pro-choice women. I've seen it happen already.
Most reasonable Americans realize that the only thing more awful than an abortion is a woman bleeding to death in the back of a van because she didn't have proper medical care available. Then again there are a lot of unreasonable Americans who can't exist in a world that leaves room for other beliefs. For some reason these unreasonable Americans think even it's ok to believe that these other beliefs and actions will just go away if they can just be made illegal, kind of like the way they do it in Iran or Pakistan. Sarah Palin is one of these unreasonable Americans and her agenda relies on her giving in to religious fanatacism.
There is much sadness in the current state of care for both the unborn and the pregnant, it ultimately reflects badly on our greater societal values that work is held more important than life. It reflects just as badly that a government will tell you what you can or can't do with your body based on a supposed universally held religious code, rather than encourage you to exercise your own constitutionally protected religious freedom. Whether or not state religion gains a foothold at the federal level is what is at the core of this issue for most reasonable people, however sophisticatedly it is spun by the zealots and fanatics who claim to be making a case for the welfare of children and mothers.
She's not going to win over any Hillary supporters by being ro-life / pro-creationism / pro-book banning. Yet these facts will make the American Taliban cheer Hallelujah.
Something is looks rotten is the State of Alaska...Todd Palin's business partner has filed an emergency petition to make his divorce records confidential. Hmmmm.
Poor Ol' Sen. Flip-flop, he really has to stop speaking with yellow ties in front of chroma key green screens.
"pro book banning"?
Oh brother, here we go again Cato. Now some nonsense about Palin's business partners divorce records?
Not only are you folks on the left scared, you now are forced to admit even to yourselves that most Americans don't believe your baloney.
13. Palin is hardly talking much about abortion or creationism. As long as she stays quiet on those issue, we'll be fine.
14. CAto are you talking about Palin or Cantwell? You know that Washington Senator who was named in Ron Dotzauer's divorce proceedings as a correspondant. Apparently she was humping Dotzauer the week before his wedding ( and probably after), the records where sealed after they were observed and reported on by the Shark. Seems Maria slipped him money under the tableto keep him going even though he was defaulting on his child support payments. Classy Lassie that Maria. Even to this day she sends business to Dotzauers consulting firm using taxpayers money, heck they even exchange staff occasionally. Are you going to call for Dotzauers records to be opened too?
Let's put religion aside for this discussion. From a purely biological and scientific perspective, maybe you can explain what part of the body a preborn child is?
Well, if you define "pro" as in "willing" or "for" a specific policy then yes...
"Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor."
BTW Cato your link doesn't work. Maybe you can explain it instead.
On the subjects of abortion or creationism, I think Palin can talk about them all she wants and I expect that she will. It won't hurt us a bit.
And just look what you quote Just Asking @16, a Time magazine hit piece on Palin entitled "Mayor Palin, a Rough Record".
19. Jeez. Why are people hung up on her position on abortion? Has a vice president EVER had an effect on abortion law, for or against? I'm asking seriously because I don't know of one.
"John McCain was clear about why he picked half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate."
This is just the first sentence of the Time hit piece.
Isn't the left something? Nasty, nasty people.
21. Presidents and Vice Presidents who become Presidents during term have the ability to appoint Supreme Court Justices.
18-Bill. Is this publication suitably preferable?
23. You know that Washington Senator who was named in Ron Dotzauer's divorce proceedings as a correspondant.
Yup, but she's not running as a Family Values candidate. I know people who've worked with Cantwell and they can testify she's a real b***. She's still better than the DUI guy the GOP ran against her.
Bill, my link works. I imagine it's not meant to handle all the curious folks who are looking at it. Maybe you should look at the Google cache if your curious like I was.
Not only are you folks on the left scared, you now are forced to admit even to yourselves that most Americans don't believe your baloney.
Why should I be scared of McCain, you see ol' Sen. Flip Flop's speech last night, what a snoozer. Rallying for change against a man he campaigned for? What sort of change will McCain provide? His stances on issues are almost identical to the guy we have now. Palin is a wild card, fires up the base but so far has been kept out of the spotlight. We'll see how that plays out, methinks they cry foul a little too much (and the media has only just begun to find out who she is).
think Palin can talk about them all she wants and I expect that she will. It won't hurt us a bit.
Won't hurt you personally, it will certainly scare away sane minded moderates. There's a reason why the Creationists continually get booted from public school boards, even in middle America.
Promoting, persuading, explaining, and convincing with regard to pro-life policies is important for buidling and growing the conservative movement.
Most important, however, is the simple moral justice of the pro-life, anti-abortion position. Abortion is brutal and unnecessary, and the degree of acceptance abortion has won has been harmful to our culture.
The justice of this issue (and, for that matter, any other issue) trumps the question of whether, at a given time, that issue is well understood or accepted or popular. Our job is to win people over, change people's minds, and thereby save lives.
In the long run, the pro-life vs. pro-abortion debate will be won by the pro-life movement, on the merits of the issue.
And thereby, on the merits of the issue, we can increase support for the pro-life position to the extent where there is sufficient political power to actually change public policy and change lives.
I've often said that the Republican Party is stronger, more effective, and more unified when we remain committed to our conservative values. The nomination of Sarah Palin (who has demonstrated a strong devotion to the pro-life cause) to be our next Vice President is an important step in the right direction, and I welcome her candidacy with enthusiasm.
"Women won't vote for her because of that."
Oh yah? Tell that to the seven women on my side of our extended family, who ARE voting for her.!
I agree with you Steve.
I feared McCain would pick someone who supports abortion which would have assured our loss in November.
Instead he picked someone with true conservative values who is not afraid to promote them. I think Democrats realize that they lose when they run against true conservatives which is why they are freaking out calling Palin a "book banner" among other things.
27. Cato agrees that Cantwell/ Dotzauer records should be unsealed and observed right. The money, the on-going guiding of public funds to Dotzauers company. Let's go Cato, lead the way, Democrats have to be willing to take out their own trash. Oh and by the way if you don't want drunks in the Senate, you had better find another VP candidate really quick...the villages!
28. Look, Obama should not, cannot, run pro-choice ads in places like Ohio, which is where I am from. I am pro-life and I am leaning towards Obama. I am Catholic, like many of the voters he hopes to win in Ohio, but I come from an evangelical family...also a group in Ohio that Obama is trying to win. It is utterly missing what the catholic/evangelical Ohio electorate values to run those commercials. I am leaning towards Obama even though I strongly disagree with him on abortion because the Republicans have done such an abysmal job in the White House and do not support or address the other issues I am concerned with--health care and war. My boyfriend is Catholic and is a pro-life democrat and he was upset about the pro-choice commercials and started talking about Nader. Please, Obama, emphasize fewer abortions, not the "right to choose" stuff in Ohio--that will have the opposite effect that you want.
Steve Beren @ 24,
Well said. I hope our party begins to heed your words about this. It's been terribly missing from the discussion in our state. With the pro-abortion side screaming about how we'll lose women's rights if we elect this or that Republican, and all our party fights back with are dodges and, "well, we're just not as obsessed with abortion as the Democrats."
26-Bill McCain did in fact pick a true conservative who is so fearless in promoting her own values that removing books she finds offensive from a "public" library seems to her an acceptable use of the power of her office.
How will that mind set play with other topics. Will we continue to spend 1.3B per year on abstinence education? Will we end up spending more?
As for true conservatism, I'm still waiting to see that from the current Republicans that have spent us into a record-breaking debt. Or has Republicanism become conservative on values only?
31. Cato - I want a cite for your assertion that creationists are being booted from school boards.
How will that mind set play with other topics. Will we continue to spend 1.3B per year on abstinence education? Will we end up spending more.
Care to site your proof. Plus how much is spent on sex ed that hasn't done much since the 1970's?
Chew on this.
Fact: Government spends $12 to promote contraceptives for every $1 spent on abstinence. In 2002, the federal and state governments spent an estimated $1.73 billion on a wide variety of contraception-promotion and pregnancy-prevention programs. More than a third of that money ($653 million) was spent specifically to fund contraceptive programs for teens. In contrast, programs teaching teens to abstain from sexual activity received only an estimated $144.1 million in the same year. Overall, government spent $12.00 to promote contraception for every one dollar spent to encourage abstinence. If funding for teens alone is examined, government still spent $4.50 on promoting teen contraceptive use for every one dollar spent on teen abstinence.
#30 Just asking--please tell all of us just what books Palin "banned" from the Wasilla library. I doubt you'll find anything but the empty quotes from the dirt digging leftist media that cannot be substantiated.
And which group wants to "hush Rush" by restoring the "fairness doctrine"?
Just as an aside, I've figured out one explanation for why the left lies so often. More of them are lawyers.
35. You can always count on the dirt bags in the media and blogs to perpetuate false rumors and lies about Republicans.
36. Most reasonable Americans realize that the only thing more awful than an abortion is a woman bleeding to death in the back of a van because she didn't have proper medical care available.
- Posted by Acid Brain at September 5, 2008 10:21 AM
CITE the ACTUAL statistics and facts to back up that old cannard. EXACTLY how many? When? Where?
There is much sadness in the current state of care for both the unborn and the pregnant, it ultimately reflects badly on our greater societal values that work is held more important than life.
Agreed. Ther is MUCH sadness in a mindset that foists unnecessary test with a history of false results on pregnant women then uses those false result to encourage the killing of that "damaged" baby. YOU DO NOT want to go there with the image of sweet little Trig being lovingly held around his family and that baby killing bHo gleefully allowing children just like him to die in dirty linen.
Based on bamababykillers record and OWN words, if he wants this "debate" I say BRING IT ON.
Ooooooooooo makes you want to move to Norway.
Looks like (asking) typical lib, just posted and ran!
34-Bill. She was not successful in doing so. It was her willingness to ban that was unsettling.
Rush should be able to say what he wants but he should also be liable for what he says. Why such opposition for having people be held to the truth in their words?
39. Rush should be able to say what he wants but he should also be liable for what he says. Why such opposition for having people be held to the truth in their words?
-Posted by Just asking at September 5, 2008 01:56 PM
Kinda like the mainstream press hit men, eh?
Do you even know how foolsih you look and sound every single time you fall into your own trap?
40. Oh yah? Tell that to the seven women on my side of our extended family, who ARE voting for her.!
Somehow I doubt any of them were Hillary supporters.
Meanwhile, and you can tell the 15 women of 4 different generations in my family who won't be voting for her. Different strokes for different folks.
Cato - I want a cite for your assertion that creationists are being booted from school boards.
Google it, "creationists removed from school board". Quite a number of stories. Remember Kansas? Boy oh boy, what a national embarrassment that was.
Oh and by the way if you don't want drunks in the Senate, you had better find another VP candidate really quick...the villages!
I did, nothing there. You care to share Biden's DUI experience? Meanwhile I can look at the GOP VP nominee's husband who actually has a DUI as well as the sitting President. Typical BS from the Hypocrisy Party.
Cato agrees that Cantwell/ Dotzauer records should be unsealed and observed right.
Go for it, I'm all for openness. Again, Cantwell not a holier than though 'I live my life by the bible's teachings' conservative. Once again the truth strikes right to the heart of the Hypocrisy Party. Funny how you happily criticize others but look the other way for the flaws of your own poorly vetted candidate.
Cato, the quote from the paper was that because of her abortion stance, "women won't vote for her." They're trying to make it sound as if NO women will vote for her. Period. Quite the sweeping statement they made, don't you agree???
Oh, and btw, I sometimes read the PumaPac blog, which is Hillary supporters who aren't voting for Obama. The ones who are't staying home on election day have stated they are absolutely voting for McCain.
Actually, more women are pro-life than men:
39-Ragnar. No, foolish is Rove, O'Reilly, Morris and Palin, when they apply tactics from the Ministry of Truth. Funny stuff.
Of course they're misplaying the abortion issue. Roe v. Wade has been very bad for the Democrats since it's decision. It drives the party farther to the left than most people. It forces them to defend all types of abortions--from the reasonable all the way to infanticide--under the made up right of privacy.
The best thing that could ever happen for Democrats is to have Roe v. Wade overturned so that the abortion issue goes back to the states where it belongs. It would allow them to abandon the precipice of extreme liberalism in their campaigns and party platforms.
(I would say the same is true for the far right that thinks we need a national ban on abortions. Social issues should never be decided at the national level because our country encompasses such a wide diversity of beliefs and thought that it only conflagrates the "culture war")
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