What Do Voters Think About Abortion?
Americas Majority Foundation, an organization that I work with, held several polls over the past three months, including post-election polls. In August, the foundation polled 1100 Hispanics, and in a national post-election poll, polled 1000 whites, 1000 blacks and 1000 Hispanics. Finally we polled black and Hispanic voters in New Mexico, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Illinois: states where America's PAC was involved. (We polled 3500 Hispanic voters in three states: Illinois, Wisconsin and New Mexico, and 2800 black voters in two states: Wisconsin and North Carolina.)
If this election showed us anything, Americans may be more pro-life than previously believed. Wendy Davis' run for Texas governor was supposed to showcase the strength of the pro-choice movement, but Davis lost big time and couldn’t even carry women voters.
In our August poll, Hispanics still view themselves as pro-life by a 51% to 44% margin. In our post-election poll, 17% of black voters along with 23% of Hispanic voters and 21% of white voters supported prohibition of all abortions. 44% of Hispanics supported allowing abortions only in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother, along with 40% of black voters and 38% of white voters.
27% of white voters, along with 23% of black voters and 21% of Hispanic voters, supported allowing abortions in the first trimester, but prohibiting it in the second and third trimester, except to save the life of the mother.
Only 15% of white, 12% of Hispanics, and 19% of black voters supported allowing abortion in all cases. When reviewing the data, 67% of Hispanics voters, 57% of black voters and 59% of white voters supported either to prohibit abortions or restrict abortions to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest.
Combining allowing abortions in all cases or simply allowing them in the first trimester is supported by only 42% of white voters, 33% of Hispanic voters and 42% of black voters.
For minorities, abortion hits their communities harder as Hispanic babies are aborted at twice the level as white babies and black babies are aborted at three time the level of white babies. When Americas PAC tested pro-life ads, we found those ads moved numbers. Adam Schaeffer and I noted in US News and World report:
Our Partisan Abortion ad made 5 percent of all respondents more likely to trust Republicans than Democrats on taxes and spending. Swing voters are, of course, consistently more amenable to persuasion than voters as a whole. And among Hispanic swing voters, the Partisan Abortion ad boosted trust in Republicans on taxes by nine points, on spending by eight points, and on education by seven points….Our Partisan Abortion ad made 5 percent of all respondents more likely to trust Republicans than Democrats on taxes and spending. Swing voters are, of course, consistently more amenable to persuasion than voters as a whole. And among Hispanic swing voters, the Partisan Abortion ad boosted trust in Republicans on taxes by nine points, on spending by eight points, and on education by seven points.
Social issues do matter as wedge issues, and while many Republican consultants would advise to ignore these issues, it is self-evident by our studies and election results that being pro-life can swing votes in the direction of Republicans.