The Electoral Strength of the Pro-Life Movement

Those who underestimate the power of the pro-life movement in electoral politics do so at their own peril. Data continually shows that the pro-life voting bloc is absolutely integral to electoral success – or failure – of candidates in close races.

Polling shows that Americans are closely divided on the issue of abortion.  But when asked about specifics and issues, the majority of Americans identify with the pro-life position. 

  • 51% of people pro-life, while 42% pro-choice  -  Gallup Poll,  May 15, 2009 “More Americans ‘Pro-Life’ Than ‘Pro-Choice’ for First Time”
  • “Americans are closely divided between those calling themselves "pro-choice" and those who are "pro-life," now 49% and 45%, respectively.”  - Gallup Poll, May 23, 2011 “Americans Still Split Along ‘Pro-Choice,’ ‘Pro-Life’ Lines” 
  • Between 2001 and 2009, the percentage of people age 18-29 who label themselves as pro-life rose by 4 points, from 43% to 47% - Gallup Poll,  May 15, 2009 “More Americans ‘Pro-Life’ Than ‘Pro-Choice’ for First Time”
  • In 2009, the proportion saying that abortion should be legal in all or most cases has declined to 46% from 54% in August 2008 -  Pew Research Center Poll, April 30, 2009 “Public Takes Conservative Turn on Gun Control, Abortion”

Under what circumstances should abortion be legal?

  • In 2011, a Gallop poll reveals 22% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal, and  50% believe it should only be legal under certain circumstances;  of those, 61% believe it should only be legal in a few circumstances.  - Gallup Poll, May 23, 2011 “Americans Still Split Along ‘Pro-Choice,’ ‘Pro-Life’ Lines” 

Federal funding of abortion

  • In a 2010 Rasmussen poll, 52% of voters favor a ban on abortion coverage in any health insurance plan that receives federal subsidies.  Rasmussen Reports, Jan 3, 2010 “53% Favor Abortion Ban in Health Plan”  
  • Only 35% approved of Barack Obama’s actions as President, allowing funding for overseas family planning groups that provide abortions.  Gallup Poll, Feb 2, 2009, “Americans Approve of Most Obama Actions to Date” 
  • 54% of Americans oppose spending tax dollars for family planning services going to organizations that perform abortions.  43% strongly oppose tax dollars for family planning services going to organizations that perform abortions.  the polling company, inc/ WomenTrend, April 12, 2011 “Should Tax Dollars for Family Planning Go To Organizations That Perform Abortions?”

Parental Notification

  • A 2006 poll shows 69% of Americans favor laws requiring parental consent before a minor girl can receive an abortion.  Gallup Poll, Nov 30, 2005, “Americans Favor Parental Involvement in Teen Abortion Decisions”

Pro-Life Voters vote with High Intensity

  • According to a post-election poll conducted by the Polling Company following the 2008 election, five percent said abortion was the most important issue affecting their vote and of those voters, 90% were pro-life.  When asked a softer question of whether or not abortion affected their vote, 34% said yes.  So, 4.5% of all voters are both pro-life and consider abortion the most important issue affecting their vote. (That would be more than 5.85 million people in the 2008 election.)
  • According to a national post-election poll conducted by the Polling Company following the 2010 election, 33% said abortion affected their vote;  22% said abortion affected their vote and that they voted for candidates that opposed abortion as opposed to only 8% who said that abortion affected their vote and that they voted for candidates who favored abortion.   Pro-life candidates had a net pro-life advantage of 14%.

The high number of pro-life voters combined with voter intensity makes the Life issue critical in elections because pro-life voters matter in the margins. 

  • In a 2004 exit poll, when asked what their most important issue, 22% said “Moral Values,” outranking any other issue. Of those, 80% voted for President Bush and only 18% voted for John Kerry.
  • A 2004 CBS Poll asked Bush voters “Which issue was most important for your vote?”  68% said “Moral Issues.” 
  • According to Open Secrets, from 1990 – 2008, an average of 59 of U. S. House races each election cycle were won by less than a 10% margin, and an average of 11 U. S. Senate races each election cycle were won by less than a 10% margin.  Elections are won in the margin. 
  • Pro-Life Voters delivered a 4% Advantage for Bush in 2004, based on polling that showed voters where “abortion was the most important issue” and those voters voted for President Bush.   In 2004, President Bush only won by 2.5%.  Between 1996 and 2008, the average winning Presidential margin is 4.975%.