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Monday, May 18, 2009
ConWeb Touts Dubious Abortion Poll
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is unsurprisingly rushing to embrace a new Gallup poll portraying a major shift on abortion -- those who identified themselves as "pro-life" jumped from 44 percent in 2008 to 51 percent this year, while those who identified themselves as "pro-choice" declined from 50 percent in 2008 to 42 percent this year.

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer declared in a May 15 post, "What a difference a radical, in your face, abortion-promoting president makes," citing examples of "Obama's appalling abortion-supporting record" and asserting that "the ascendance of Dear Leader Barack Obama has unmasked what being 'pro-choice' on abortion is all about."

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, cited an "analyst" -- in fact, someone from Concerned Women for America, which opposes abortion and thus cannot be counted on to offer anything resembling objective "analysis" -- similarly assertd that the numbers are "a reaction to the realization what a true "pro-choice" position means to President Barack Obama." Newsmax gave lead-story play to an Associated Press article on the poll.

But the sharp year-to-year swing -- particularly on an issue that has seen few sharp swings in Gallup polling -- may indicate a problem with the poll. As Media Matters' Jamison Foser noted:

Gallup says the large swing from a year ago is attributable entirely to a 10-percentage-point increase in Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who call themselves pro-life. But that 10-point increase can only result in the overall swing Gallup claims has occurred if more people are Republican or lean Republican today than a year ago. That's possible, but is inconsistent with other polling that shows fewer Americans than ever consider themselves Republicans. Until Gallup releases the full data, its press release shouldn't be taken particularly seriously.

Meanwhile, Ed Kilgore at FiveThirtyEight.com adds:

After eight years of constant excitement among right-to-lifers about getting that fifth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, that prospect is now pretty distant. And instead, Americans have been exposed to a constant wailing of alarms about Obama being "the most pro-abortion president in history," determined, somehow, to expand abortion rights. That Republicans and Republican-leaning independents might polarize on the subject isn't terribly surprising or necessarily significant.

Of course, since the poll has numbers they can get behind, the ConWeb will continue to take it quite seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EDT

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