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PolitiFact Wisconsin concludes that by far, the economy, not abortion, is most important to young people

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Those who are pro-life are understandably wary of PolitiFact, given the organisation’s track record. The organization describes itself as a fact-checking service that rates the veracity of statements made by elected officials and others. Its Truth-O-Meter tool is used to assess the factual accuracy of statements.

Nevertheless, it appears that when pro-life statements are evaluated, the results consistently indicate that they are false. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that PolitiFact Wisconsin has reached a different conclusion.

In a recent evaluation, Hope Karnopp of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examined a statement made by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on WISN-TV’s Sunday morning show, “UPFRONT”. She provided a fair summary of his argument. In a recent statement, Scott Walker asserted that the primary concern of college voters is the economy, rather than abortion. One might inquire as to the veracity of this assertion.

It would be beneficial to ascertain precisely what Walker stated.

The most pressing concerns of the American public are economic in nature. This is evidenced by the findings of our nationwide polling, which indicate that the economy is the top issue for college students. Even young people who are our constituents at Young America’s Foundation share this concern. [Walker is currently the president of Young America’s Foundation, an organisation that aims to mobilise young conservatives, particularly on college campuses.]

Karnopp noted that Walker’s assertion was particularly noteworthy, particularly in light of the fact that the most recent statewide election in Wisconsin was characterised by a high turnout of liberal, college-age voters who were motivated by abortion.

It is therefore necessary to ascertain whether the poll, conducted by Echelon Insights, can be considered representative of young people. Karnopp interviewed Michael McGonigle, the group’s director of public relations, who informed PolitiFact Wisconsin of the poll’s key findings and the underlying data. Karnopp discovered that

The survey asked respondents to select up to three of eleven issues, in random order, that were of most concern to them.

The top response was the economy, with 38% of college students and 37% of high school students saying it was a top issue for them.

Next was school safety, although this issue was ranked higher by high school students (45%) than by college students (29%). This was followed by gun policy, education, the environment and climate change.

Sixth on the list was abortion, which was a top issue for 15% of high school students and 27% of college students.

After meticulous examination of the data, she reached the conclusion that Walker’s assertion was indeed accurate. The group’s polling demonstrated that the economy was the primary concern among college voters.

One might inquire as to the veracity of the information provided by Echelon Insights.

Karnopp requested that Charles Franklin, Director of the Marquette Law School Poll, review the poll.

Franklin said Echelon Insights was a “respected pollster”. While some questions were worded to elicit a particular response, he said the wording was generally straightforward.

“I was expecting a much more slanted poll because that is what interest groups usually do. They ask questions in a way that benefits their group,” Franklin said. “So I was quite struck by what I thought was a fairly even set of questions.”

It would be beneficial to ascertain whether the results align with those of other reputable polls, including the Harvard Youth Poll. Other polls indicate that the economy is a primary concern for young voters, with abortion being a less significant issue.

Is YAF’s finding that the economy is the most important issue for college-age voters consistent with other polls?

Let’s start with the nearby Marquette Law School Poll. The poll most recently asked Wisconsin voters to rate their top concerns in the autumn of 2022.

Among the youngest category of voters (ages 19-29), 60% said they were very concerned about inflation and rising prices, and 40% said they were somewhat concerned. Inflation was the top issue in this poll.

Now compare that with abortion: For the same age group in this poll, 62% were very concerned, 26% somewhat concerned, 4% not too concerned and 8% not at all concerned about abortion policy.

Finally, Franklin said the poll’s findings are common in other surveys, and that it’s “almost a default response” for voters to say they’re concerned about the economy.

“The point about abortion being significantly less (important) than the economy, that’s true in every adult poll I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t mean it’s not important, but it’s not the most important issue for a large part of the public,” he said.

Based on Franklin’s assessment, it looks like we can trust the YAF poll.

Karnopp’s conclusion was that… The assessment of Walker’s claim is thus rated as true.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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