Reader: Poll origins, wording matter


The Associated Press article “Trump attends pro-life rally” in the Urbana Daily Citizen (Jan. 25, pp. 1 & 5) includes this sentence: “While views of abortion have remained relatively stable over two decades of polling — with roughly 6 in 10 Americans saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to Pew Research Center — both the Republican and Democratic parties have taken harder-line positions for and against abortion rights.” Two observations need to be made about this statement. First, the Pew Research Center took a left-wing turn in 2003, dropping conservative charities and funding environmental, biomedical, and economic research, the arts, and policy research (Avery Phillips, “Why Pew Charitable Trusts Should Never Be Considered ‘Non-Partisan’,” Foundation Watch, July 3, 2018, on line).

Second, one can find other figures than “roughly 6 in 10” Americans supporting abortion. According to National Review reporter Ian Tuttle, “only one in four Americans thinks abortion should be legal under any circumstances.” The truth is that 61% of Gallup’s respondents supported legal abortion only during the first three months of pregnancy, and only 27% supported it during the second trimester. A very small number (14%) thought abortion should be legal in the final three months of pregnancy (Apr. 9, 2015, on line).

So it depends how we word any poll. The question should be “up to what month during a pregnancy do you believe abortion should be legal?” Evidently, as the unborn baby grows bigger, so public support naturally dwindles.

It is also worth asking in a poll whether the respondent believes dismemberment of the unborn and born baby should be legal. Most “pro-choice” people we have talked to do not seem to know that dismemberment and sale of body parts are commonplace.

David George & Members, Champaign County Right to Life