A case study in misleading abortion polling results

By Dave Andrusko

If there is any inviolable rule of thumb vis a vis abortion polls, it’s that you have to dig deep and read carefully. I give you a Morning Consult poll conducted May 28-30.

If you read just the first seven pages, you would think the poll finds majority support for abortion in all or most cases. Not so. (It has to do with the misleading way the percentages are presented, but that is a long, long story.)

You have to wade through until you reach page 8 where you read this question asked of 1,109 respondents: “And more specifically, do you think abortion should be illegal in the following cases”:

  • 298 said after fetus could survive outside of womb (27%)
  • 85 said except in the case of risk to the mother’s life (8%)
  • 56 said except in the case of rape or incest (5%)
  • 500 said except in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother’s life (45%)
  • 32 said illegal in all cases (3%)
  • 137 said they didn’t know or had no opinion (12%)

In other words, a total of 61% said abortion should be illegal in all cases (3%); illegal except for rape, incest, risk to mother’s life (45%); illegal except for rape and incest (5%); or illegal unless there is a risk to the mother’s life (8%).

Yowza.