Aaron Blake of the Washington Post tweets a Quinippiac Poll with this finding thusly:
Interestingly, Q poll shows women more supportive of 20-week abortion ban than men. Women back it 60-25, men 50-35. http://t.co/R8g2CqicWQ
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) August 2, 2013
Yes, it is interesting, even counterintuitive, but only if you’ve ignored the similar result in pretty much every poll on the subject. I’m not after Blake, in particular on this point, but the entire media makes it its mission to characterize any restriction on abortion as prima facie “extreme,” without ever noting the obvious and inconvenient fact that late-term restrictions are, by definition, mainstream. They are supported by a majority of Americans, even many of those who believe abortion should be legal in the first trimester, and even more solid majorities of women.
On another matter, the Republican-led effort in Congress and in many state capitols to reduce from 24 weeks to 20 weeks the time period during a pregnancy in which almost all abortions should be legal is striking a chord with voters. A total of 55 percent want a 20-week limit while 30 percent favor the current 24 week limit.
Looking a little deeper, there is not a major demographic that prefers 24-week unrestricted legality to 20-week. Republicans prefer a 20-week cut-off 62-17, Independents 59-26, Men 50-35, Women 60-25, White 55-32, Black 53-28, and Hispanic 59-20. Democrats come closest, only preferring a 20-week cut-off by a 46-44 margin.
Looking a little deeper, there are precious few groups who don’t prefer a 20-week cut-off by a clear majority. Those with no college degrees, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, moderates, and conservatives all favor a 20-week cut-off in numbers well over 50 percent. Among age demographics, 18-29, 30-44, 45-64, and 65+, every single group is favorable to a 20-week cut-off, with 18-29-year-olds the most friendly to restrictions and 65+ the least friendly. Again, counterintuitive unless you’ve read polls on this ever before in your life. I imagine the numbers would look even more favorable to restrictions if you phrased the questions in months of gestation as opposed to weeks.
The groups who prefer 24-week legality to a 20-week cut-off are as follows: people with college degrees (still not over 50 percent), those who identify as non-religious, liberals, and those who make over $100K a year (again, not over 50 percent).
The only two groups that support unrestricted 24-week abortions at over 50 percent are those who identify as liberal (54-39) and “none” in the religion category (53-37). So, given that, could we please stop acting like something a majority of Americans— white, black, Hispanic, men, women, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, moderates, conservatives, young, middle, and 65+ people—prefer is extreme?
It’s not like this is the first time we’ve learned something akin to this.