The Lesson In The Latest Pro-Life Numbers

Absent epochal events like 9/11, shifts in public opinion tend to happen very slowly, over a period of years and even decades. Because of this, when these changes reach a tipping point, they often catch us by surprise.

One such surprise has just occurred with the news that More Americans (are) “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time. From Gallup,

A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

The new results, obtained from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

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…The source of the shift in abortion views is clear in the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey. The percentage of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) calling themselves “pro-life” rose by 10 points over the past year, from 60% to 70%, while there has been essentially no change in the views of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Similarly, by ideology, all of the increase in pro-life sentiment is seen among self-identified conservatives and moderates; the abortion views of political liberals have not changed.

…A year ago, Gallup found more women calling themselves pro-choice than pro-life, by 50% to 43%, while men were more closely divided: 49% pro-choice, 46% pro-life. Now, because of heightened pro-life sentiment among both groups, women as well as men are more likely to be pro-life.

It’s intriguing, is it not, that so many people have encouraged the GOP to run screaming from the abortion issue in order to appeal to women, a majority of whom now consider themselves to be pro-life.

It’s also worth noting how much the views of the American public have shifted over time. In 1995, 56% of Americans referred to themselves as pro-choice and 33% referred to themselves as pro-life. So, in 13 years, the percentage of pro-lifers has gone up 18% and the number of pro-choicers have dropped 14%.

Do you think these kind of shifts can’t happen on immigration? Spending? Big Government? Gay marriage? Do you think they can’t happen with different demographic and ethnic groups? Do you think they can only go in the favor of the Left, but not back the other way? As these abortion numbers show, it’s not true, my friend, not true at all.

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