May 25, 2012

Gallup poll reports badly distort abortion status

Sam Smith: Gallup reports that, "the 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as 'pro-choice' is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves "pro-life," one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009."

This was widely disseminated by the media, but one key point got missed:

In other words, 77% of Americans say that abortion should be legal in some or all situations. This doesn't mean they necessarily like it, any more than non drinkers like booze. But lost in our political debates is the key difference between liking something and tolerating it.

Liberals have been as bad as conservatives on this, with each acting increasingly like political born agains who believe that those who don't agree with them are going to hell.

But tolerance plays a key role in political change. For example, consider the anti-gay parents who discover their daughter is a lesbian. The first step towards a new attitude may be the tolerance encouraged by the fact that gayness is no longer an abstract political matter but a family one.

The abortion stats show why this is not a insignificant matter. It can define who's really on your side. Or, in this case, how few are on the other.

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