By Dave Andrusko
Although the 2016 presidential election is 19 months away, we’re already under siege by pollsters asking about various candidacies, the importance of various issues, and just the general lay of the land (often taking the form of does the respondent think the country is headed in the right direction).
A CBS News poll released Sunday discussed which potential Republican candidates found the most favor (or, as the poll asked, which candidates would they consider voting for) ; ditto for the Democrats, although to this point the only real question was whether Democrats want to see another credible Democrat run against Hillary Clinton (answer is yes).
For our purposes in this short post, two things are worth mentioning. First, CBS News asked Republicans which were the “biggest litmus” test for GOP voters, as the Washington Times characterized the question.
The Times summarized the results thusly:
“Among the issues asked about in the poll, the biggest litmus tests for Republicans are candidate positions on ISIS – which Republicans overwhelmingly see as a major threat to the U.S. – and abortion. Sixty-one percent of Republicans would not consider voting for a candidate who disagrees with them on dealing with ISIS, and half (51 percent) would not vote for someone with a different position on abortion,” the poll says.
Second, the responses of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to a question about abortion. The 1,023 adults were asked which came closest to their view. Abortion should be
* All Republicans Democrats Independents
Generally available 38 22 54 37
under stricter limits 34 39 28 35
Not be permitted 25 36 18 25
Several results jump out. Exactly one-fourth (25%) said abortion should not be permitted, which included 25% of Independents.
Nearly half (46%) of Democrats said abortion should either be available but under stricter limits (28%) or not permitted (18%). Interesting!
And 75% of Republicans said abortion should either be available but under stricter limits (39%) or not permitted (36%).
Remember the basic reality of abortion polling. A majority of the public opposes the reasons for which over 90% of all abortions are performed. So when someone says they believe abortion should be available but under stricter limits, at least two things are in play.
First, many [most?] will support abortion only in the “hard cases.” Second, if they are asked a follow up question whether they want Roe v. Wade overturned, they will say no both because they have no idea how radical Roe is and because they support abortion in those difficult, limited circumstances.
A very interesting poll that you can read at cbsnews.com.