Americans more pro-life for second straight year

posted at 10:12 am on May 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Last year, Gallup showed that Americans had become more pro-life than pro-choice for the first time in their polls.  One year later, Gallup reached the same conclusion of a poll of adults.  The pollster tends to reflect more on political polarization as a driver for the trend, but there may be other elements at play:

The conservative shift in Americans’ views on abortion that Gallup first recorded a year ago has carried over into 2010. Slightly more Americans call themselves “pro-life” than “pro-choice,” 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll. This is nearly identical to the 47% to 46% division found last July following a more strongly pro-life advantage of 51% to 42% last May.

While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion. By contrast, in nearly all readings on this question since 1995, and each survey from 2003 to 2008, more Americans called themselves pro-choice than pro-life.

According to two-year averages of these results since 2001, Republicans have become more likely to call themselves pro-life since polling conducted in 2003/2004, as have Republican-leaning independents since 2005/2006. Independents who lean to neither party also became more likely to call themselves “pro-life” between 2003/2004 and 2005/2006, but have since held steady.

Democrats’ self-identification with the pro-life position has moved in the other direction, declining from 37% in 2003/2004 to 31% in 2009/2010. Among independents who lean Democratic, there has been no movement in either direction.

But there are two other measurements which show this issue in another light entirely.  Over the last ten years, every age group has seen identification with pro-life increasing, in some cases dramatically.  The percentage of seniors identifying as pro-life has gone up seven points.  Young adults ages 18-29 have increased four points; the 50-64 demographic has increased pro-life identification by five points.  Only those in their 30s have remained relatively flat, increasing only two points in ten years.

Women may provide the most surprising demographic of all, however.  In the past ten years, there has been a six-point gain among women identifying as pro-life.  Men have increased only by three points in the same period, and now only are a single percentage point higher in pro-life identification.  At 49% and 48%, both are coming close to establishing themselves as majorities instead of pluralities.

Gallup may be working the analysis in the wrong direction.  We are looking at a cultural shift on abortion, where its perceived morality (consistently rejected by majorities over the same period of time) has finally come into closer relationship with personal identification on the issue.  It’s not the political divide that’s driving these numbers — but it may be that the cultural shift has started to impact political identification as well.  If so, pro-choice Democrats could find themselves in a minority party in the next several years.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Lies have lifespans like anything else.

Akzed on May 14, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Well then the federal government must take a more active role in presenting the awesome benefits of abortion, and if necessary, requiring a certain number of state abortions to receive federal aid dollars.

Bishop on May 14, 2010 at 10:17 AM

F***k’n A! Also, dude, pro-life isn’t the preferred nomenclature, it’s female-hater, please. These aren’t the womyn that built the railroads here.

abobo on May 14, 2010 at 10:18 AM

If so, pro-choice Democrats could find themselves in a minority party in the next several years

.

let’s not be stupak on this thing, there is no such thing as a pro-choice Democrat, only a Democrat that is pro-choice enough until he gets hisself an airport or something and that whole pro choice thing is revealed to be a smokescreen.

ted c on May 14, 2010 at 10:18 AM

That is some hopenchange that I can get with!

search4truth on May 14, 2010 at 10:18 AM

I’m wondering how much of the Dems’ drop in pro-life identification comes from the New Deal generation dying off and how much comes from Blue Dogs abandoning ship because they see themselves being marginalized.

teke184 on May 14, 2010 at 10:19 AM

No kidding, it’s a baby.

Hey Charlie Crist now might not be the time to veto the ultra sound bill….

Branch Rickey on May 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Psst, don’t tell NOW. They will go into a hissy fit.

cmsinaz on May 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM

I blame those E-Trade commercials.

Fletch54 on May 14, 2010 at 10:21 AM

In other words, Americans are getting the drift that abortion ain’t “healthcare”….

ted c on May 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Science is destroying them.

They can’t say that a fetus is just a “mass of tissue” or whatever unscientific crap they used to say.

This a scientific, moral, and human rights issue.

The left is either completely ignorant or evil… take your pick.

tetriskid on May 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

The science is settled.
No it isn’t.
Yes it is.
No it isn’t, but we are getting there.

fourdeucer on May 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM


Women may provide the most surprising demographic of all, however.

In a sane world, women would be the MOST pro-life people on earth.

Tony737 on May 14, 2010 at 10:23 AM

An interesting tidbit buried in the crosstabs: among 18-29 year-olds, pro-life views increased from 42% to 47%, which bodes well for the future. Since this group was all born AFTER Roe v. Wade, maybe some of them are starting to think, “if my Mom had been pro-choice, I wouldn’t be here!”

Steve Z on May 14, 2010 at 10:27 AM

The biggest change was in young people, who became more “pro-life” according to the survey. That means the younger folks, once the lifeblood of the liberal parties, are rejecting pro-choice in higher numbers. If that number continues to climb, we’re going to see a panic from the Left. More “I love my abortion” movies, more publicity for Pearl Jam, more visits from Planned Parenthood to high schools, etc.

Nethicus on May 14, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Whatever. Americans still don’t want the government to be in charge of pregnancies. Ask them about THAT.

Want to see a REAL boycott? Just let any state try it.

Moesart on May 14, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Branch Rickey on May 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM

He will. He was going to do it in 2008, even when he was being considered for VP. Then the state senate voted it down. He’s not going to get the conservative vote and he’s been pro-choice his whole career.

The above posters are right on, Gen Y is much more pro-life than previous younger generations. I have a number of friends who are very socially liberal, but are pro-life. That and the growing hispanic makeup of the country makes for a positive future on the life issue

TimTebowSavesAmerica on May 14, 2010 at 10:34 AM

The left is either completely ignorant or evil… take your pick.

tetriskid on May 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I’ll take (c) all of the above

ted c on May 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Women may provide the most surprising demographic of all, however. In the past ten years, there has been a six-point gain among women identifying as pro-life.

But AnninCA was saying that many Republican women she knew voted for Obama because of the abortion issue–without explaining how a vote for McCain would affect the abortion issue, legislatively or judicially.

BuckeyeSam on May 14, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Ed, if you could post the poll graphic on this page as well as the thumbnail on the main page, that would be great.

Missy on May 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

As James Taranto says, it is the “Roe Effect”. Those liberals who are pro-abortion have abortions, those who are pro-life have children. Aborted children do not get to vote when they turn 18.

sabbahillel on May 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

This is the science of evolution in action. Pro-lifers have many more children than pro-aborts and children generally reflect their parents values, so over time the general population will become more pro-life. To deny this observation is to disbelieve evolution and proven social behavior. These facts also doom liberalism in general eventually. These trends take time because of the long life span of humans.

Some countries entirely given over to liberalism will be replaced nearly entirely with immigrants from countries that do not practice abortion, just as much of Europe is becoming Islamic.

I’ve been expecting this poll shift.

theCork on May 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

The biggest change was in young people, who became more “pro-life” according to the survey. That means the younger folks, once the lifeblood of the liberal parties, are rejecting pro-choice in higher numbers. If that number continues to climb, we’re going to see a panic from the Left. More “I love my abortion” movies, more publicity for Pearl Jam, more visits from Planned Parenthood to high schools, etc.

Nethicus on May 14, 2010 at 10:27 AM

–A majority of the younger people aren’t prolife. It’s still the oldest people that are prolife. And don’t you think there’d be some shift to the prochoice position if abortion was in danger of being outlawed or significantly restricted?

Jimbo3 on May 14, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Whatever. Americans still don’t want the government to be in charge of pregnancies. Ask them about THAT.

Want to see a REAL boycott? Just let any state try it.

Moesart on May 14, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Whatever.

Sizeable majorities favor making 96% of abortions in America (all except for rape, incest, life of mother) illegal.

CDeb on May 14, 2010 at 10:54 AM

The Pro-Life position IS the intellectual position.

So this is a positive development for Americans to see that they are approaching abortion in a more intellectual manner. It’s not a social issue – it’s an issue of logic and reason. You cannot defend abortion unless you can first separate it from murder. In order to do that – you have to define when life begins. If you cannot define when life begins – then you cannot separate abortion from murder. Therefore – the prudent and logical approach is to refrain from the practice.

HondaV65 on May 14, 2010 at 10:56 AM

please don’t say this means another ‘baby boom’ is in the near future.

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Isiaih 5:20 – Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Inanemergencydial on May 14, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Whatever.

Sizeable majorities favor making 96% of abortions in America (all except for rape, incest, life of mother) illegal.

CDeb on May 14, 2010 at 10:54 AM

–Depends on what question is asked:

Time Poll conducted by Abt SRBI. July 31-Aug. 4, 2008. N=808 likely voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

.

“Which of these positions best represents your views about abortion? A woman should be able to get an abortion if she wants one in the first three months of pregnancy, no matter what the reason. Abortion should be legal ONLY in certain circumstances, such as when a woman’s health is endangered or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest. Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, even if the mother’s life is in danger.” Options rotated

.

Always Legal in
First 3 Months Legal in Certain
Circumstances Illegal in All
Circumstances No Answer/
Unsure
% % % %
7/31 – 8/4/08 46 40 10 4

Jimbo3 on May 14, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Sizeable majorities favor making 96% of abortions in America (all except for rape, incest, life of mother) illegal.

CDeb on May 14, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Sorry, but including rape and incest makes you pro-choice and not pro-life. A true pro-lifer makes no exceptions period. They wouldn’t make any exception for the mother, either, if they didn’t have to. That’s why the “health” of the mother isn’t good enough for a real pro-lifer. It’s got to say “life” of the mother and it kills them to have to include it.

I love arguing with pro-lifers who will make an exception for rape and incest. It doesn’t take much arguing and I’ve won as soon as they do. They can never dig themselves out of that hole. It’s great.

The private medical decisions of others are nobody else’s business and as long as conservatives harp on it they will always lose.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

But AnninCA was saying that many Republican women she knew voted for Obama because of the abortion issue–without explaining how a vote for McCain would affect the abortion issue, legislatively or judicially.
BuckeyeSam on May 14, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Anninca is a liar. She makes things up all the time as if anyone will believe her anecdotes… She makes up a story to go with every situation. Now she acts like she supports Palin but I remember her vicious venemous post about Palin because Palin is pro life and Ann is pro murdering defenceless human beings in their mother’s womb.

CCRWM on May 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM

The private medical decisions of others are nobody else’s business and as long as conservatives harp on it they will always lose.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Let’s hope so…the liberals have already won doing the same thing and the results are not going to be pretty.

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM

To deny this observation is to disbelieve evolution and proven social behavior. theCork on May 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

I don’t deny this and I disbelieve evolution.

There is no genetic change caused by prolife views.

Akzed on May 14, 2010 at 11:10 AM

…please don’t say this means another ‘baby boom’ is in the near future. Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 10:58 AM

This means another ‘baby boom’ in the near future.

Akzed on May 14, 2010 at 11:12 AM

This means another ‘baby boom’ in the near future.

Akzed on May 14, 2010 at 11:12 AM

If you were trying to be funny…you DID make me laugh. I have always got a giggle when someone does that just to be silly.

Or were you trying to be serious?

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 11:15 AM

The private medical decisions of others are nobody else’s business and as long as conservatives harp on it they will always lose.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Did I miss something or do the children choose to be eviscerated so that they don’t inconvience their “mother”?

Congratulations on your victory – enjoy splashing about in the rivers of blood and be proud, you and people like you have earned it.

NoDonkey on May 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM

It took years for the pro-abortionists to convince Americans that there was nothing morally wrong with abortion. But, as more and more of them accept the truth, they will come around to understand also that the unborn need protection.

This is encouraging.

Jvette on May 14, 2010 at 11:20 AM

People like Jaynie59 never quite understand that it is the rights of the baby that are being upheld, that little tiny human being that is utterly defenseless yet every bit as human as she is – the only difference being that of what stage of the life cycle the human happens to be at that particular time.

Funny that liberals will shout from the mountaintops to stop something like child abuse but will defend a mother’s ‘right’ to have that same child vacuumed out of her.

So go right ahead, Jaynie, and think its great to beat a pro-lifer at an argument. Don’t expect to win the argument when your day of judgement arrives.

turfmann on May 14, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Funny that liberals will shout from the mountaintops to stop something like child abuse but will defend a mother’s ‘right’ to have that same child vacuumed out of her.

“Liberals” don’t give a damn about child abuse, they just “care” when it’s convenient.

You never hear about all of the pedophilia committed by public school teachers, because that’s inconvenient.

There is a movement on the left to drastically lower the age of consent.

NoDonkey on May 14, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Sorry, but including rape and incest makes you pro-choice and not pro-life. A true pro-lifer makes no exceptions period. They wouldn’t make any exception for the mother, either, if they didn’t have to. That’s why the “health” of the mother isn’t good enough for a real pro-lifer. It’s got to say “life” of the mother and it kills them to have to include it.

I love arguing with pro-lifers who will make an exception for rape and incest. It doesn’t take much arguing and I’ve won as soon as they do. They can never dig themselves out of that hole. It’s great.

The private medical decisions of others are nobody else’s business and as long as conservatives harp on it they will always lose.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I never said I was making exceptions for rape or incest.

The post I was responding to referred to practical implications of the Gallup poll. I was responding with further practical implications.

And while your definintion of a “true pro-lifer” is noted, any “true pro-lifer” will not scoff at a 96% reduction in abortions.

CDeb on May 14, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Who’s kidding who? If they were able to poll the fifty million innocent lives they’ve slaughtered,since 1979, those numbers would be a heck of a lot higher than that.

Don L on May 14, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Did I miss something or do the children choose to be eviscerated so that they don’t inconvience their “mother”?

You missed several somethings.

Sorry, but including rape and incest makes you pro-choice and not pro-life. A true pro-lifer makes no exceptions period. They wouldn’t make any exception for the (life of the) mother, either, if they didn’t have to.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

In case you still missed it, things like rapeand the endangerment of the mother’s life are not ‘inconveniences’.

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 11:30 AM

If so, pro-choice Democrats could find themselves in a minority party in the next several years.

That phrase boggles the mind. If you believe that abortion kills children, how could you possibly vote for politicians who favor it?

itsnotaboutme on May 14, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 11:30 AM

I really don’t give a damn about the legalities. It’s of no interest to me.

It’s appalling to me that rape is even thinkable, legal is not even a consideration for me, I know that it’s impossible to prevent.

It’s a sick tragedy that a mother would choose to have her own child murdered and that a “doctor” would do it. You can argue all you want to the irrelevant legalities, knock yourself out.

NoDonkey on May 14, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Liberals have no problem with illegal aliens invading our country, settling permanently here and the major inconveniences they cause, but they have a real problem with the inconvenient alien invader of a woman’s womb who is only there for nine months.

Jvette on May 14, 2010 at 11:40 AM

That phrase boggles the mind. If you believe that abortion kills children, how could you possibly vote for politicians who favor it?

itsnotaboutme on May 14, 2010 at 11:32 AM

On the last Saturday in March 2008, at a town hall meeting in Johnstown, Pennsylvania , Candidate Barack Obama told the crowd that he didn’t want his daughters, “punished with a baby.” He got elected, despite that stupid statement. Those of the same mind are upset that the American people are finally catching on that there is a human life, full of unknown potential,that is ended by an abortion.

kingsjester on May 14, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The science is settled.
No it isn’t.
Yes it is.
No it isn’t, but we are getting there.

fourdeucer on May 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

I seem to have to bring this up every time there is a pro-life thread.

I have in front of me a copy of “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology,” published in 1988 for medical students (as opposed to seminary students). On page one it states, “Zygote: This cell results from fertilization of an ovum by a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being…Human development is a continuous process that begins when an ovum from a female is fertilized by a sperm from a male.”

The science is settled. However, it is also ignored.

KyMouse on May 14, 2010 at 11:42 AM

If anyone would like to see quotes similar to mine above (11:42 a.m.), here are a few other titles to which I’ve had access, all of which say that a new human being begins when egg and sperm join forces:

“Medical Embryology,” Jan Langman, 1975

“Langman’s Medical Embryology,” 7th edition, ed. T. W. Sadler, 1995

“Essentials of Human Embryology,” Keith L. Moore, 1988

“Human Embryology,” William J. Larsen, 1997

“Patten’s Foundations of Embryology,” Bruce M. Carlson, 1996

“Human Embryology and Teratology,” O’Rahilly and Muller, 1996

KyMouse on May 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM

The science is settled. However, it is also ignored.

KyMouse on May 14, 2010 at 11:42 AM

The science has never been the issue with me or our family, my wife is currently at a pro-life fundraising auction, the science is truly settled and I was being facetious but thank-you for bringing up THE DEVELOPING HUMAN. There are numerous scientiffic studies verifying that fact and it is a shame it is being ignored.

fourdeucer on May 14, 2010 at 12:01 PM

KyMouse on May 14, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Liberals are only interested in science when they can fake it in favor of their harebrained schemes (e.g. global warming).

When it gets in their way, they just shift to their high priests in the legal profession, to get them what they want.

Either way, they’re covered by bogus “reasoning”.

NoDonkey on May 14, 2010 at 12:02 PM

KyMouse on May 14, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Yes, this does seem to be one instance in which liberals refuse to accept that the science is indeed settled.

Damn science.

Jvette on May 14, 2010 at 12:05 PM

It’s kind of hard to argue with pictures of the babies in the womb.

You can only scream “fake” so many times, ya know?

Jewels on May 14, 2010 at 12:11 PM

The private medical decisions of others are nobody else’s business and as long as conservatives harp on it they will always lose.

Jaynie59 on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I make my private medical decisions with a gun, but the sherif makes me lose. Damn those relatives and state busybodies. If they’d just shut up I could keep aborting people at will, medicaly that is. /sarc

AnotherOpinion on May 14, 2010 at 12:29 PM

As James Taranto says, it is the “Roe Effect”. Those liberals who are pro-abortion have abortions, those who are pro-life have children. Aborted children do not get to vote when they turn 18.

sabbahillel on May 14, 2010 at 10:47 AM

And you can imagine what it must be like for a kid who was allowed to live, discovering that his or her selfish mom had offed their sibling with such blithe alacrity. Having the the “there but for the grace of God go I” burnt into the back of their brains has got to make the surviving children of feticidal me-generation women think twice about the ethics of abortion.

All the advances in ultrasound technology where people are sending out the ever-more detailed & vivid sonograms of their kids in the womb to friends & family & even coworkers must surely have something to do with the spike in pro-lifers, too.

Maybe that’s part of why Barack Obama & all his fellow statists have suddenly begun sounding like luddites bemoaning the advances of technologies which have created, in their view, far too much information for the citizenry to process quite as they’d prefer us to process it. The danger of technology is it allows us to question the elite’s authority on all these matters, including the supposed ‘settled science’ that a fetus is just an inanimate lump of tissue.

leilani on May 14, 2010 at 12:32 PM

There is no genetic change caused by prolife views.

Akzed on May 14, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Childrens’ values resemble those of their parents (~83%) and pro-abortion women tend to have less children than pro-life women. Long term result: there are less pro-abortion people over time.

And it doesn’t matter whether or not there is any genetic bias involved. The concept of evolution applies to cultures as well as genetics.

LarryD on May 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

This is a no brainer. Sex is not considered an act so irresponsible that one should expect life-altering consequences for it. But having sex without contraception is. Young people today have grown up in a world where there is a ready availability of contraception, so getting pregnant unexpectedly is much more clearly an act of irresponsibility.

DaveO on May 14, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Young people today have grown up in a world where there is a ready availability of contraception, so getting pregnant unexpectedly is much more clearly an act of irresponsibility.

DaveO on May 14, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Dead on. And the truly responsible ones use something for each participant. I like to tell my sexually active friends “always have a backup system”.

{What can I say? I’m a techie born and raised. >;-} )

Dark-Star on May 14, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Pro-life doesn’t necessarily mean anti-abortion.

The CJ Political Report on May 14, 2010 at 2:20 PM

When I was pregnant, I strolled into my doctor’s office at less than two months along. I wore my regular jeans. I had a little nausea, a little fatigue–no big deal. I felt normal.

The doc gelled up the wand. Rolled it over my belly. Prodded a bit. And then suddenly, through the silence–the steady, undeniable sound of life: the swish and thrum of my son’s heartbeat.

I went in a pregnant woman.

I left a mother. A mother of a yet-unborn baby.

I give science a great deal of credit in changing the attitudes of Americans regarding abortion. I never considered aborting my son…but had I, that heartbeat would have aborted the thought of destroying my baby–my only son.

Grace_is_sufficient on May 14, 2010 at 6:21 PM

The Roe v. Wade decision was in January 1973.

So any American who is 37 years old or younger was lucky to be born alive.

Knowing that you were a potential “abortee” and that you are most likely missing several classmates, siblings and other relatives who might have been born before Roe v. Wade, can certainly help one to understand the devastation that abortion has caused.

The pro-life trend will only increase now that more babies are old enough to defend themselves.

wren on May 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM

For the past 6 years Tens of Thousands of people have joined the Walk For Life in San Francisco California. (Yes, THAT San Francisco!)

Check out the pictures here to see for yourself:
http://www.walkforlifewc.com/index.htm

Seeing this many people Walking for Life in San Francisco, gives me hope for the future!

Save the date! The next Walk For Life in San Francisco will be on January 22, 2011.

wren on May 14, 2010 at 7:38 PM