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May 15, 2009

PLINOs? Pro-Life in Name Only?

Allah wonders...

An afterthought. If my theory of what’s driving this is correct, why were the numbers so hugely pro-choice in 1995, with Clinton in his first term? One possibility is that it was a backlash to the GOP congressional wave the year before, with voters suddenly worried that a Republican Congress might try to scale abortion way back. If so, then the current numbers don’t mean much at all since they’re basically just a reaction to whoever’s in power at the time.

It could also be that people have trouble calling themselves "pro-choice," even though they actually are "pro-choice," similar to how people who incline Republican or Conservative have a tougher time describing themselves as such.

It could be that a good chunk of the support for the pro-life position (and sometimes for the pro-choice position) is purely gestural and not real.

For example, someone (as many people seem to say) might say they're "pro-life" and then go on to support abortion in various circumstances... including first trimester or even second semester abortions, with no extenuating circumstances like rape or incest.

Most people, especially those who are truly pro-life, would not call that "pro-life" at all -- they'd call it "restricted pro-choice," or "pro-choice with some limitations" -- but it does seem that at least some people calling themselves "pro-life" aren't really all that pro-life at all, and could easily become "pro-choice" if their notion of "pro-life" is rejected in favor of a genuine pro-life position.

Still, even if at the margins this majority is gestural, it does represent increased sympathy for and support of more a more pro-life position.

Someone in the comments said they thought more people supported what they might call a "moderate pro-life" position, emphasis on the moderate. Sarah Palin, it was suggested, represents this notion (although it's not clear she actually is moderate pro-life, but she seems to project to many that while she's a social conservative, she's moderately so).

I still think the real number is something like 45 in favor of more genuine "pro-life" positions (but even that includes those who would make hard-case exceptions) and 55% in favor of genuine pro-choice positions (even if some of those would restrict abortion on demand). How people self-identify may bounce around and has a lot to do with the current "face" of either party, but I'm thinking those numbers are mostly static. They move a bit in reality, and move more in a gestural way, but not an awful lot.

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posted by Ace at 03:32 PM

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