Tags: The | Pro-Life | Advantage | the | Polls

The Pro-Life Advantage at the Polls

Monday, 18 November 2002 12:00 AM

There are always those who contend that the abortion issue is a big loser for Republicans. Republicans will lose suburban women if they take a pro-life stand, it is alleged by consultants who supposedly know what they are doing.

Well, the National Right to Life Committee hired pollster John Zogby, a Democrat, to accumulate data on what taking the pro-life position meant in the 2002 general election. Zogby polled in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. These are states where a pro-life Republican faced a pro-abortion Democrat.

What Zogby found, in averaging these races, is the pro-life advantage for the Republican candidates was 7 percent over the pro-abortion candidates. In other words, of those people who listed abortion as their reason for voting in the election, 16 percent of the electorate said that the pro-abortion position was their reason for voting for the Democratic candidates. But 23 percent of the electorate said they voted for the Republican candidates because they took the pro-life position.

This number, by the way, has been consistent over many years. From the time the National Right to Life Committee began doing exit polling in the late 1970s, the pro-life advantage for Republican candidates has been in the 5 percent to 8 percent range in election after election. The higher number usually reflects higher turnout for the Republicans.

Dr. Wanda Franz, the president of National Right to Life, in a post-election press conference cited three states where exit polling by Fox News had validated the assertion of her organization concerning the pro-life advantage.

In Georgia, the Republican pro-life challenger, Saxby Chambliss, defeated the Democratic pro-abortion incumbent, Max Cleland, 52.8 percent to 45.9 percent. The preliminary tally from the Secretary of State's office gives Senator-elect Chambliss a margin of 140,000 votes. Nine percent of the electorate listed abortion as the "One issue that mattered most." Of the 182,000 votes that were cast on the abortion issue, Chambliss received 73 percent or over 133,000 votes. Clearly being pro-life was a help to Chambliss.

Likewise in Minnesota, with 79 percent of the electorate voting, Norm Coleman prevailed over former Vice President Walter Mondale. The margin was 49.53 percent for Coleman and 47.26 percent for Mondale. With over 2.2 million voters participating, the vote total for Coleman was just over 51,000 more than for Mondale. According to Fox News, the abortion issue was decisive for over 315,000 voters of which 81 percent, or 255,000 votes, went to Coleman. That amounts to five times his winning margin.

Finally, in Missouri, the subject of Sen. Tom Daschle's last-minute fundraising appeal for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Senator-elect Jim Talent won his race by 1.2 percent. His winning margin was 22,578 votes. Seventeen percent of the electorate listed abortion as the ONE issue that mattered most. Of these, 80 percent, or 255,000 of the 318,000 votes cast on the abortion issue went to Talent, more than 10 times his winning margin.

Similar results can be found in all of the races where a pro-abortion Democrat ran against a pro-life Republican. Even in Arkansas, which incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson lost to Democrat Mark Pryor, the vast proportion of the vote cast on the abortion issue went to Hutchinson. It just wasn't enough to overcome voter resentment over his divorcing his wife of 29 years to marry a 35-year-old member of his senatorial staff.

The right-to-life issue was decisive in both Colorado and New Hampshire, where Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard and challenger U.S. Rep. John Sununu, R-N.H., won their respective races with 51 percent of the vote.

With more than two decades of proof in Senate, House and presidential races that the pro-life issue helps Republicans when running against a pro-abortion Democrat, one would think the issue would go away. The proof is beyond question.

Still, every two years pro-abortion Republicans and the media combine to re-create the myth that if Republicans don't take the pro-abortion stance, they will be doomed.

How many more elections will it take?

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There are always those who contend that the abortion issue is a big loser for Republicans. Republicans will lose suburban women if they take a pro-life stand, it is alleged by consultants who supposedly know what they are doing. Well, the National Right to Life...
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2002-00-18
Monday, 18 November 2002 12:00 AM
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