What to Make of the Latest Washington Post/ABC poll about the 2012 Presidential Election

By Dave Andrusko

What should pro-lifers make of a poll released this afternoon that finds that 55% of Americans think Republicans will win the White House next year—while only 37% think President Obama will win a second term thirteen months from now? Several preliminary thoughts come to mind.

Clearly, the President is in the midst of a rough, rough patch of water. You’d expect 83% of Republicans to be anticipating a victory in 2012. You wouldn’t expect that among Democrats, only 58% expect Obama to win. And you wouldn’t necessarily have thought that what the Washington Post/ABC poll “the linchpin of national politics”—Independents—would also expect the Republican to win the presidency by 54% to 36%.

But it’s no less true that Republicans have not coalesced around a presidential candidate and that in March 1992, in a New York Times/CBS News poll 76% believed the first President Bush would win re-election by defeating former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. It’s important not to get ahead of ourselves.

And what about the intensity factor, which is clearly with Republicans right now? Some astute observers, including columnist Charles Krauthammer, insist that this is over-rated—that all votes are equal on election day (i.e., you can only vote once).

However as Bob Morrison recently observed, “voter intensity is the key to winning elections. Voter intensity counts because the number of votes will depend on how motivated is the electorate.”

Beyond the bedrock importance of intensity, pro-lifers also know that Democrats will re-nominate a deeply committed pro-abortion President who to this day is nonetheless still described by “mainstream media” reporters as a “moderate” on abortion. Republicans will nominate a pro-life candidate who will be described in a variety of ways, the common denominator is that he/she is a “right-wing extremist.”

No matter what you hear day in and day out about the “insignificance” of the abortion issue, the intensity of pro-lifers will be key if, as has typically been the case in recent  elections, the outcome is very close. But won’t pro-lifers be driven to replace a candidate who, were he re-elected, would likely be able to replace between one and three Supreme Court justices?

Yes, unless some, no matter how few, decide that the nominee is not “perfect.” Remember: it will be no accident that that same cadre of reporters who will write that the GOP presidential nominee is out in right-field, will write a million stories strongly suggesting that the Republican nominee is not “really” pro-life.

Don’t be fooled.

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