Pew Survey: Guys, Guns and Abortion
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
In the rush of opinion polls released last week (the one showing that support for torture seems to correlate with the intensity of one's Christian faith certainly is a jaw-dropper) one intriguing survey on abortion was largely overlooked. The survey, from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found that support for legal abortion has slipped significantly -- mostly among men.
Among all respondents, the percentage of those who say abortion should be legal in all or most cases has declined from 54 to 46 since August, according to the poll. Support for abortion has declined even among white mainline Protestants, who are generally considered liberal on abortion rights issues. Just 23 percent of white evangelical Protestants now favor legal abortion, down from 33 percent in August. But the more surprising numbers are among guys.
Indeed, the change in abortion opinions is being largely driven by large shifts among men. Last August, 53 percent of men said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. But last month, only 43 percent did.
What's going on?
"My instinct is to try not to over-read it," said Pew research center president Andrew Kohut.
He notes that overall sentiment against legal abortion also bumped up in 2001, after the election of George W. Bush, but sank back down to historic levels, where majorities have consistently favored legal abortion.
"Maybe attitudes get unstable in times of political change," Kohut said.
As for the guys, Kohut points out that, in the same survey, Pew also polled on gun control and found that men were turning more conservative there as well. (There's been widespread concern--denied by the Obama administration--that the administration will push for tighter gun-control laws.) A year ago, a narrow majority of men--45 percent--said it was more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns than control gun ownership. Now, 57 percent believe protecting gun owners' rights are more important.
Does one have something to do with the other? Or are men just overall growing more conservative since the Obama administration has taken over? Too soon to tell.
To drill down into these numbers, Pew plans a broader survey on abortion shortly, Kohut said.
Posted by: Rob-Roy | May 5, 2009 6:47 PM
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