Fox News reported yesterday that a majority of Americans now identify themselves as pro-life on the abortion issue.
Fifty-one percent of Americans consider themselves “pro-life” and just 42 percent say they are “pro-choice,” the first time a majority of the country has stated a personal objection to abortion since Gallup polls began tracking the data 15 years ago.
This is the first time since Gallup began tracking this issue that pro-lifers have overtaken pro-choicers! In fact, just last year the numbers were 50% pro-choice, 44% pro-life.
If you’re thinking this is simply a statistical anomaly, think again. Gallup’s own article indicates it considered this possibility when it explains these results were corroborated by two other polls yielding almost identical numbers–one was another Gallup poll, but confirmation also came from a Pew Research Center which showed an 8-point drop in those who believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Republicans and right-leaning Independents are responsible for the dramatic position shift as Democrats’ and left-leaning Independents’ views remained virtually stagnant from last year. The following graph shows a 10% shift from pro-choice to pro-life among the former group in the study.
The poll also found a corresponding shift on the extent to which Americans believe abortion should be legal. Fifty-three percent of Americans now believe abortion should be legal under certain conditions, down slightly from last year. But it’s now a dead-heat between those who believe there should be no legal restrictions on abortion and those who believe the procedure should never be performed under any circumstances. With 22% holding the former position and 23% the latter. Until now, the left extreme heavily outnumbered the right on the legality question.
Gallup probed further with those who believe abortion should be legal in some cases, but not all. When asked whether they thought abortion should be legal in most cases or in only a few cases, the latter view won handily. The chart below shows those 37% of respondents favor legalization only in rare cases while those who prefer few legal restrictions make up only 15% of Americans.
Views on Legalized Abortion
Another interesting take on the graphic above is seen by combining the left extreme with those who believe abortion should be restricted, but only in few cases vs. the right extreme and those who believe the procedure should only be illegal in most situations. While only 37% of Americans stand on the left half of the spectrum, fully 60% place themselves on the right half .
Gallup also found both men and women who identify themselves as pro-life jumped 8% and 6%, respectively. This year, 49% of women and 54% of men identify themselves as pro-life vs. 43% of women and 46% of men in last year’s survey.
All three categories of religious preference used by Gallup showed gains in the percentage of pro-life Americans as well. Protestants identifying themselves as pro-life shot up 8%, Roman Catholics 7%, and those who categorized themselves not in either of these two groups (other/none) but consider themselves pro-life rose 4%.
This is great news for the pro-life movement in the US. But what will it mean on the political front?
Gallup says “With the first pro-choice president in eight years…Americans — and, in particular, Republicans — seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.”
Personally, I believe this dramatic shift is a direct result of the radical changes President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are cramming down our throats. We saw the beginnings a conservative uprising immediately following the November election with groups like Rebuild the Party and Top Conservatives on Twitter springing up on the internet, and more recently the Tea Party, the 9/12 Project, and numerous other conservative activist organizations.
Sounds like great news for the Republican Party, right?
Not if it listens to the numerous calls that insist a move to the center is the GOP’s only hope for survival, like seen here, here, and here. There’s evidence the party may already have charted this course. Continuing to take this path will only make matters worse as the party continues to alienate true conservatives, and offers no alternative to the Democrats and their left-wing, Socialist agenda.
Rush Limbaugh‘s been saying it, Dick Cheney‘s been saying it, I and countless others have been saying it, the GOP needs to move back to its conservative roots if it hopes to recover from the thrashing it’s taken in the last two election cycles.
This Gallup poll should tell the GOP a move to the center will be committing suicide.