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In spite of the spin, new CBS News survey holds very encouraging news for pro-lifers

by | Jun 8, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

So how does CBS News headline its latest survey on abortion? “Roe v. Wade: Most support keeping it in place.” 

True, but fundamentally misleading, as we’ll discuss in a moment.

What would be a headline that better captures the important findings? “Four in 10 Americans [42%] say the issue is so important to them they could not vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on it.” That is a great many Americans.

Over and over, polls have shown that among these single-issue voters, there are many more who vote pro-life than who vote pro-abortion.

Guess what? Jennifer  DePinto and Anthony Salvanto don’t bother to tell the reader the breakout. 

Or, how about “Most white Evangelicals” think Roe should be overturned. Again no numbers. (They are likely huge.)

Or, “How frequently one attends religious services plays a role regardless of religious affiliation. Those who attend religious services weekly are inclined to feel abortion should not be permitted and to think Roe should be overturned, while those who attend less often support keeping Roe v. Wade in place.” Kind of important, wouldn’t you say?

Or (the rare occasion CBS News provides specifics) that 55% believe abortion should be “available but with limits” [31% ] or “should not be permitted”  (24% ) versus just 42% who say they believe abortion should be “generally available.”

These questions are maddeningly imprecise. When you get specific, as Gallup does, you find that a whopping 60% want abortion legal “only in a few circumstances” (39%) or “illegal in all circumstances” (21%).

Back to keeping Roe. How is the question posed to respondents? “What should the Supreme Court do about Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal—keep it as is or overturn it?”

But besides “mak[ing] abortion legal,” what does Roe allow? Sex-selection abortions are legal. Targeting babies because they would have Down syndrome is legal. Slaughtering huge babies well into the second and third trimesters is legal.

Is the public buying into that? Of course not, which is why these questions are worded they way they are: to ensure that DePinto and Salvanto can lead their story with “Nearly two-thirds of Americans want Roe v. Wade kept in place.”


Categories: Polling