Polling on abortion

Let’s start with the fundamentals – only a very small minority of people in Britain oppose abortion completely. The principle that women should be able to have an abortion has overwhelming support. For example, YouGov here found only 6% of people wanted to ban abortion altogether, and in a more detailled survey here found 11% thought it should be illegal in most cases, 2% illegal in all cases. Angus Reid found only 4% of people opposed to abortion completely here.

However, if there is broad consensus on the principle of abortion being legal, public opinion is more divided on what restrictions there should be on abortion and what rules should govern its availability. Political discussion on this normally circulates around the 24-week limit that applies to most abortions. Polls tend to find people fairly evenly split between reducing this limit or keeping it as it is – looking again at the two most recent YouGov polls on the subject, the first in 2011 found 40% supporting the status quo or a longer limit, 37% supporting a lower limit. In the 2012 poll 39% supported the status quo or a longer limit, 37% supported a lower limit. The Angus Reid poll found 48% supported a reduction, 39% supported the status quo or a longer limit. The last ICM poll I can find asked specifically about a reduction to 20 weeks, and found 53% supported it, 30% were opposed. People are, essentially, pretty evenly split over the issue.

It is worth looking at the crossbreaks on abortion. Abortion is a free vote issue in the House of Commons and MPs are not whipped, but there are obvious patterns in voting behaviour, with Conservative MPs more likely to vote in favour of tighter time limits or further restrictions on abortion and Labour MPs more likely to vote against further restrictions (neither party is monolithic of course, there are many Labour MPs who vote against abortion or in favour of more restrictions and many Conservative MPs who vote against more restrictions. The pattern is there though).

There is NOT the same consistent pattern amongst the general public – for example, in the 2011 YouGov poll Conservative voters were slightly more likely to support a reduction in the abortion limit, in the 2012 poll the position had reversed and Labour voters were more likely to support a reduction. This is not a party partisan issue.

Also surprising are gender cross-breaks. The media coverage of the abortion issue often seems to make the assumption that women are more opposed to restrictions on abortion. Polls consistently show the opposite – that women are more likely than men to support a reduction on the abortion limit. In the 2011 YouGov poll 28% of men supported a reduction, 46% of women did. In the 2012 YouGov poll 24% of men supported a reduction, 49% of women did. In the Angus Reid poll 35% of men supported a reduction in the limit, 59% of women did. In the ICM poll 45% of men supported a reduction to 20 weeks, 59% of women did.

The idea that MPs speaking out for lower limits on abortion will alienate female voters therefore seems slightly odd, by espousing a viewpoint that is more popular amongst women than men they will drive women away? Hmm. Of course, it is possible that it is an issue that has more salience amongst women than men. It’s also possible that lots of media commentators saying a party is taking an stance unpopular with women will make a party seem unsympathetic to women anyway, regardless of the actual details of the issue – if it plays into an unsympathetic towards women narrative it can bolster that narrative almost regardless.


123 Responses to “Polling on abortion”

1 2 3
  1. Exactly Anthony.

    I saw the Yougov poll from January which you refer to earlier today and was both surprised to see that woman overwhelmingly support a reduction and puzzling that the media seem to think otherwise despite the polling evidence.

    It’s also worth noting that of those who want a reduction roughly 46% want a reduction to BELOW 20 weeks including 47% of those woman wanting a reduction vs 34% wanting a reduction to 20 weeks and

  2. oops…

    and 22% want a reduction to 22 weeks.

    So overall it appears that most woman not only want a reduction but a reduction to below 20 weeks.

    Of course as they didn’t spefically ask how much below 20 weeks they would like it to go to there’s no way of telling what most womans reaction to Jeremy Hunt’s comment would be it does still make the media reaction rather puzzling.

  3. Can’t we talk about gay marriage instead?

    There was a vote on this in the last parliament. I don’t believe there was anything in the tory manifesto or the coalition agreement saying that a new vote would be held, so these polls are strange, as if the people commissioning them want this to be a subject for debate, again.

  4. I should say that it isn’t the polls that are strange, but the fact that this is suddenly presented as a subject for debate,

  5. It’s the top political story at the moment, because Jeremy Hunt has said in an interview that he still believes the same thing he has believed for years. Personally I think that’s rather silly reason for the press to get all excited about the subject, but nevertheless, I try to provide polling information on what is in the news. None of the polling is new.

    There is a post going over the polling on gay marriage here: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/4984

  6. Genuinely surprised that women outpoll men considerably in wanting reduction in the abortion limit.

    Noone would have been interested in his opinion on abortion till a few weeks` ago…But surely it is a matter of public interest if Jeremy Hunt the health secretary states that he wishes a lower limit on abortion.The state funds abortion for starters.

  7. Maybe it’s because women have thought about the issue more than men?

  8. Thanks very much Anthony.

    That was a very rapid response-what a service !

  9. I would suggest that it’s more likely that a proportion of men don’t think that they’re allowed to have an opinion on the subject, much less a negative one.

    Re: the media coverage. Many (especially female) journalists are hypervigilant over this issue, so there tends to be an overwhelming reaction whenever it comes up. The Guardian in particular, is a case in point, and it’s the one subject (or perhaps the one I notice in particular) where they make absolutely no effort to separate news and comment.

  10. It doesn’t really encourage clear thinking, does it, discussing abortion. A few blindingly obvious points that are nearly universally ignored:

    ? It is as meaningless to talk about an “unborn child” as it is an “unborn adult”. You might just get away with “unborn baby” late in pregnancy.

    ? If you are OK with women being able to abort foetuses with no apparent physical disabilities, then it’s a bit odd (to say the least) to be unhappy about them choosing to do so on the grounds of disability. If the worry is that this would “send a signal” about the worth of disabled people, then I would suggest you start tackling existing stigmatisation around such things as employment and benefits.

    ? Similarly on the grounds of gender, if you’re OK with abortion on demand (without having to give a reason), then you have to be OK with it being done for a bad reason. Again if you’re concerned about the implied de-valueing of women, then tackle that first. If people then start whingeing about no suitable brides for their sons in twenty-odd years time, they’ve go no one to blame but themselves.

    ? If people are genuinely concerned about “late” abortions, unless you are opposed to all abortions, then the rational thing to do is to campaign for abortions to be free, readily available, and on demand. This will minimise the time between diagnosis and decision and the resultant action. Therefore fewer late abortions.

    So if Hunt and co are sincere and thinking straight, they should be talking about removing restrictions such as needing to see two doctors and increasing provision. It’s also obviously a no-brainer from a financial point of view that free abortion is going to save money in the short term, compared to the cost of childbirth.

    ? Just because there are a few (possibly mis-assessed) cases of babies born at 22-24 weeks surviving, there is no reason why either medical or legal rules should change. These have to be based on what happens in most cases not what might happen in a few.

    And while we’re on the topic of what the plural of anecdote is, from the previous thread, it’s rather unlikely that a developmental disorder such as dyspraxia could ever be diagnosed in utero given that there’s nothing to base the diagnosis on. So it could hardly be grounds for termination.

  11. One small quibble.

    “The principle that women should be able to have an abortion has overwhelming support,” doesn’t necessarily follow. Recognising that total or near total prohibition a) isn’t going to happen, and b) is unlikely to work in practice doesn’t equate to people thinking that some should necessarily be able to have an abortion as a point of principle.

    My personal feeling is that public opinion is very soft on this subject around the centre ground and an awful lot of people have no firmly held beliefs on the issue, either way.

  12. Ugh, HTML fail. :-S

    One small quibble.
    “The principle that women should be able to have an abortion has overwhelming support,” doesn’t necessarily follow. Recognising that total or near total prohibition a) isn’t going to happen, and b) is unlikely to work in practice doesn’t equate to people thinking that some should necessarily be able to have an abortion as a point of principle.

    My personal feeling is that public opinion is very soft on this subject around the centre ground and an awful lot of people have no firmly held beliefs on the issue, either way.

  13. I’ll give up now, that should have been “should” italicised. :-(

  14. HTML fail (again) – those question marks started out as bullet points. That’ll teach me not to be ambitious.

  15. Anthony, would age, social class, and whether childless or not, have a significant bearing on women’s opinions?

  16. Thank you Anthony.
    On the party politics around this, perhaps the reason why the normally solidly pro Labour vote has dropped, among catholics in the GE of 2010 is linked to the abortion issue, as well as th schools issue, marriage law and adoption agencies closures on grounds of religious practice.

    It seems to me that the argument hinges on whether human life is from the person which some of us call God, and whether someone has a soul.

    I cannot see the logic of twelve weeks being the time when life begins, since this seems arbitrary. It is true the unborn baby/foetus seems to be formed by then, in micro.

  17. Chris – Labour MPs support for abortion is not new. Indeed, looking back at voting patterns in free votes I was looking back at 1990.

  18. Thank you for fixing my posts, AW, or maybe I’m just going mad.

  19. “This is not a party partisan issue.”

    Drat. I was hoping to make some party political capital out of this but it looks like I will now be unable to do so.

    I will await the debate returning to more sensible subjects such as PC plebs and heckled teenagers! Normal service will then be resumed.lol

  20. clad

    Anthony, would age, social class, and whether childless or not, have a significant bearing on women’s opinions?

    Amazingly little. If you look at the latest cross-breaks on the latest YouGov poll from January that discussed reduction in the limit, there’s almost no differences outside of random variation. There’s also no significant pattern based on how people voted at the last election.

    Even when they do exist they’re not always what you would expect at first. For example older people are more against reducing the time limit than younger (and even more surprising, more likely to say they don’t know).

  21. C2DEs are more in favour of a reduction than ABC1s.

  22. Any discussion of abortion will always be emotive because views are inevitably
    subjective.One wonders therefore if it was wise of Jeremy Hunt to make these
    Comments at the start of the Tory party conference.The subsequent intervention by DC,gives an impression of disunity.IMO.

  23. I thought the legalisation of abortion was a pragmatic decision, based upon the desire to keep women away from “back street” abortionists.

    You don’t have to “approve” of it, just realise that to ban it would be to endanger women who still seek a termination.

  24. chrislane1945

    On the party politics around this, perhaps the reason why the normally solidly pro Labour vote has dropped, among catholics in the GE of 2010 is linked to the abortion issue, as well as th schools issue, marriage law and adoption agencies closures on grounds of religious practice.

    It doesn’t seem so – and you’re assuming that all Catholics will share your view of abortion law. From memory, there was quite a lot of polling around the time of the Pope’s visit that suggested otherwise about that and other orthodox RC positions. The percentages wanting any reduction in limit was almost identical (38%) in January among the three Parties 2010 supporters, maybe slightly less among current Lib Dems but even that might be MoE.

    It seems to me that the argument hinges on whether human life is from the person which some of us call God, and whether someone has a soul.

    I cannot see the logic of twelve weeks being the time when life begins, since this seems arbitrary. It is true the unborn baby/foetus seems to be formed by then, in micro.

    I think the reason for that limit is because the end of the first trimester seems to seem as the modern equivalent of the quickening, though in reality that usually takes place later in the pregnancy, which was used to distinguish between degrees of seriousness of abortion in late medieval and early modern law. Though as the article points out the whole doctrine appears to based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew.

  25. Perhaps the reason this issue has raised its head is because of the sheer damage the gay marriage issue has done to the religious Conservative vote.

    As Cameron cannot back down now, he has to throw some real ‘red meat’ to the religious (Catholics especially) to stop them moving over to UKip.

  26. Hannah

    It’s useful to try putting in the HTML cancellation in a subsequent post. It can stop the infection of others’ posts.

  27. Hannah

    Alternatively, AW can be a gentleman – as always!

  28. “It can stop the infection of others’ posts.”

    I did wonder about that, seems like a bit of a bug in the comments system, if html tags can propagate like that.

  29. I think it’s obvious why more men are opposed to restrictions and that’s because men have been bullied into thinking they have no say on the abortion issue and that women deserve free reign to decide whether to kill their child or not.

    One interesting thing I’ve not seen polled on is the attitude to abortion once women have actually had a child. Childless women of any stripe are more likely to favour less restricted abortion as they just view the foetus as a bunch of cells. Once a woman has had a child however and they actually associate that foetus inside them as unborn child they see the value of human life.

    Anecdotally I’ve seen this in action. My best friend’s Mum had him young she was 18, she didn’t feel ready for a kid and was going to get an abortion. But her family put a lot of pressure on her to keep it, pressure that would be frowned upon in today’s society, and so she didn’t go through with it.

    Now her son (my best friend) is off studying Development at Durham, was placed on the gifted and talented list at school and has a whole room filled with trophies and awards. If you ask her now she’s so grateful that she decided to keep him, and even feels a little ashamed that she wanted an abortion at one point, because now she can see what that unborn child has become, she sees the potential that we’re all born with, she’s raised him for the past 19 years and loves him deeply and she can’t believe she nearly terminated all that and killed him before she even got to meet him.

  30. The polling on abortion is bound to be influenced by it taking place. More people will say yes to the question ‘should the time be reduced’ rather than they would have done had one not asked them. In other words it is unthinking response syndrome.

    It’s like that polling on whether EM is capable of being PM.
    Most people could not care whther he is or isn’t unless you push the question at them. just by asking, you imply he isn’t.

  31. Maninthemiddle
    An anecdote is not the same as a poll.

    Unless you have polling, try to avoid extrapolating to generalisations.

  32. ManInTheMiddle

    One interesting thing I’ve not seen polled on is the attitude to abortion once women have actually had a child. Childless women of any stripe are more likely to favour less restricted abortion

    Well if you haven’t seen that polled, how do you know that? Actually what evidence there is in the polls Anthony quotes is probably the other way – older people are (a bit) more likely to be in favour and older women are more likely to have been mothers. Maybe women who have been through a pregnancy may be more sympathetic to the idea of a termination because they are more likely to understand the problems a woman in a worse situation would face.

    As I say the interesting thing how evenly spread across the population these opinions are. The class difference Hannah mentioned is barely there and absent from some other polls

  33. @Howard

    “It’s like that polling on whether EM is capable of being PM.
    Most people could not care whther he is or isn’t unless you push the question at them. just by asking, you imply he isn’t.”

    Good grief, you’ve made a point that I both understand and agree with, all in the same post!

    Abortion, like homosexuality, even contraception and divorce, are matters of personal morality, although religious faith can play a significant part in shaping particular views on these highly sensitive matters. I was brought up a Catholic and there is a tendency to “buy the ticket” and adopt the Catholic church’s ancient stance, almost in an unthinking way. Of course some Catholics, particularly on issues like divorce and contraception, have thought agonisingly about them and departed from their faith’s rigid orthodoxy. Some have felt strongly enough to leave the church, others have remained and accommodated their particular moral views within their own individual version of catholicism. I retain vestiges of my religious based education and Catholic upbringing, and I think I will probably take them to my grave, but I like to think I can form views on issues like abortion that are unfettered by religious teaching. I listen to women and medical experts in the main and while I don’t think abortion should ever become some alternative to general contraception, I think it should ultimately be up to the woman to decide and the time limits should be stipulated by doctors and not politicians or religious leaders.

    If we let moralising politicians, sometimes pitching for votes, determine these matters then we will go back to the days when back street abortionists plied their unregulated and highly dangerous trade. Something tells me, Hunt intervention notwithstanding, that we’ve got it just about right as it is. In that sense, I agree with Cameron.

  34. CROSSBAT11

    Upbringing certainly is a critical issue in determining one’s moral values. All those of us who are parents set out (consciously or otherwise) to transmit our core values to our children.

    Those with sense then allow our kids to accept, reject, or interpret these values in their own way.

    I have vestiges of my Scots Presbyterian background, in the same way that my best mate has vestiges of his Polish/Irish Catholic background.

    Our views on most things are very similar, but we are aware of the nuances of opinion created by our slightly different upbringings.

    The old joke “He’s a Catholic agnostic, while I’m a Presbyterian agnostic” carries a lot of truth.

  35. Might I suggest that most polling detail on the abortion debate is pretty meaningless.

    The greater majority are not that well informed and their views would be almost certainly be prone to change in the light of an informed and intensive debate on points of substance.

    What we can safely say is that there is little public appetite to make abortion illegal and that much of the rest might be more influenced by shifting medical evidence than any moral absolutism.

    The danger surely is for the contamination of the Conservative brand with the Republican ethos. In the USA conservatism has become ideological. five minutes listening to Fox news reveals only how far this poison has reamed its philosophy.

    In the UK Conservatism until Thatcher was never informed by ideology. It was the rootless attachment of privilege to practice as hallowed by Burke’s rhetoric into a conviction about the tendency of human behaviour.

    Manufacturing the market into a political philosophy has contaminated this utilitarian conservatism. Its ideology is as useful to practical government as a dead match is to a firework. And the danger of Ed Milliband’s One Nation Labour Re-brand is that it exposes this neo-Conservatism for the Marxist ideology it apes

    Mark my words as pride goes before a fall, this foolish attachment to Markets will over-cure Conservatism and leave its brand poisoned by too much salt – and as Marxist-Leninism did for Socialism so excess of markets will do for neo-Conservatism.

    You may quote me and when I’m rich and famous say you knew me well – as Hamlet once said he knew poor Yorick

  36. OLD NAT.
    Similarly: In Belfast City, a Jewish doctor was asked, ‘Yes but are you a catholic jew or a protestant jew’

    ANTHONY.
    The ‘practising catholics’ (church attenders on a weekly basis) are becoming more likely to ‘toe the line’ on sexual ethics as taught by the Catholic Church. They are also more likely to vote, I think. Labour has alienated many of them, I think. The MORI research has shown this.

    CROSSBAT11.
    My wife and I have had to compromise, of course, in order to stay alive!
    A good article on this issue by Alice Thompson today.

    On polling.
    Populus have identified the old beast of a ‘spiral of silence’ among voters who will vote toraigh (tory) but will not say so.

    Parris is vg today, imho on Miliband and party beliefs.

  37. Maninthemiddle: “One interesting thing I’ve not seen polled on is the attitude to abortion once women have actually had a child. Childless women of any stripe are more likely to favour less restricted abortion as they just view the foetus as a bunch of cells. Once a woman has had a child however and they actually associate that foetus inside them as unborn child they see the value of human life.”

    The 2011 report on NHS abortions from the Office for National Statistics shows this to be false. Over the age of 20, a clear majority of women having an abortion have already borne a child to term (either live or stillbirth). Even among women of all ages who have an abortion, 51% have already had a child. Indeed, the proportion of women seeking abortion who already have a child has actually grown over the last ten years.

  38. Just watched the film “Das Leben der Anderen” (The Lives of Others)

    Evocative of the Kafkaesque world of the GDR, and such a wonderful portrayal of the human need for freedom of speech & thought.

    Utterly brilliant.

  39. CHRISLANE

    @”Parris is vg today, imho on Miliband and party beliefs”

    Yes, I thought so too.

  40. @John Murphy

    A very thought provoking piece.

    :-)

  41. AS I SAID,earlier,it is all subjective.Personally I believe this is a matter ,like
    Any other medical matter, between a doctor and their patient.

  42. Chris lane,is this the same Mathew Paris that was fawning over EdM on
    Andrew Marrs sofa last week?

  43. @ Billy Bob (from the previous thread)

    “That must have hurt, in a spa town (Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Bath, Cheltenham, Harrogate, Leamington Spa, Tunbridge Wells etc) it’s the sort of thing that will not be forgotten in a hurry.”

    Frankly, I like having a lot of frosting. I don’t see why that is at all off-putting. As long as the frosting is good. And I’m sure that residents of those towns will be forgiving. I know I’d be. If I ever visit Harrogate, I will stop into that cupcakery.

    “Perhaps that is what Barak Obama needs before the next debate, a cheery cupcake… or failing that coconut-cream pie, he likes pie, plus a pot of steaming hot coffee to wash it down.”

    Does he like pie? I’m unfamiliar with his dietary preferences, I will admit. Except I do know that he and Michele have impecable taste in dining establishments. They’re from Chitown so they know good food. But seriously, the next time you take a trip to Washington, DC, make sure you put any restaurant the President has eaten at in that city at the top of your list to dine at.

    Look, this morning we learned that Obama raised 181 million dollars in the month of September. That’s a lot (man I can still remember when a President raising 100 million for an entire campaign was a record). I suppose that the strategy of bombarding email inboxes with a congaline of desperate pleas for money has worked. The average campaign donation was $53. That’s a lot of small donors and for many a lot of sacrifice. People will give up a cherished lunch out or a night at the movies so that they can donate $15 or $20 to Obama.

    But it’s more than that. People are sacrificing their time when they spend their weekends going out to canvass and register voters for him. They’re sacrificing evenings doing hours of phonebanking. You have people literally volunteering for the campaign full time (when they should be paid IMO). When people throw all these SOTU and Debate watch parties, they’re opening up their homes to strangers and spending money to entertain. People from blue states who travel into swing states to campaign are spending their money and their time for Obama. It’s a lot of effort and sacrifice.

    So with all of that, the least that the President can do is bother to show up for the debate and show a little effort on his part. Not like he took an Amb*en before hand.

    “The Romney camp must be fairly pleased, but for all the dancing around he didn’t deliver a knockout blow, equally Obama was unable to put him away. Which means the second and third rounds will get slightly higher viewing figures?”

    I don’t think so. See the analysis here is that we have some 50-50 split electorate (or perhaps 47-47 electorate) where a few undecided, independent voters sit down to watch a debate in order to be moved. But that’s not actually what the electorate looks like right now. I mean, if that was really the case, you wouldn’t have a debate winner pronounced over the fact that he had more energy.

    “The pressure is now on Romney to perform at least as well in the Town Hall and Foreign Policy debates, everything needs to go in his favour at this stage; the better than expected job figures have not have helped him. Pressure will also be on Candy Crowley and Bob Schieffer to assert themselves as moderators.”

    Town Hall will be interesting because there is nothing worse for Romney than Romney being off-script. That’s actually where Obama really failed the other night. There were times when Romney was starting to flail and that was where he started to go off-script. Obama didn’t push the issue though and didn’t keep it going. Foreign policy debate will test Obama. Because when Romney undoubtedly uncorks some big whoppers to attack the President, the President is going to need to forcefully respond. And do it without calling Romney a liar.

    I could care less about the moderators. Working the refs during the game was perhaps Romney’s worst moment of the debate (you could easily imagine him leading a group of fellow teenage boys to beat up that poor gay kid in his prep school) and complaining about the refs after the game is a mistake of the Liberals (just makes us look like sore losers).

    Normally job figures don’t move the polls that much but this report may change things. The jobs figures are interesting because they undercut the GOP attack. The unemployment rate is now better than it was prior to Obama taking office. I just saw an ad yesterday afternoon while at the gym complaining about the unemployment rate being over 8%. Well they’ve spent a lot of money on those ads and so the new numbers make them look opportunistic and whiny. Their conspiracy theories aren’t helping them either.

    @ Amber Star (from the previous thread)

    “Yes, I am one of those uppity, Harriet Harman type feministas who cause conservative men to become Conservative men. I’ll just have to learn to live with that. :)”

    Lol, I love unrepentant feminists. Your description reminds me of the time a few months ago when I saw a black man out jogging with the shirt with the slogan “Uppity Negro” on it. You could get one that says “Radical, Harriet Harman Loving, Feminist” on it.

    Do you think Harriet Harman really turns men Conservative? I mean it was Bella Abzug who’s voice was said ”could boil the fat off a taxicab driver’s neck.” Harman seems fine to me. But then again, I love unrepetentant feminists.

  44. “The time limits should be stipulated by doctors and not politicians or religious leaders.”

    Upon what basis? That presumes that there’s a simple empirical question (or questions) that determines what the limit ought to be. You might pose “viability”- which in any case is a spectrum not a thick line in the sand- as an option, but that in itself depends upon a set of philosophical assumptions, and not a very coherent one at that.

    The argument here (I presume), is that this is the point at which you could end the pregnancy by delivering the child, and would be obligated to make have a decent shot at saving it. Thus with abortion after this point there’s no hiding behind the rhetoric of bodily autonomy to avoid the fact that it’s a deliberate decision to end a life. And yet women generally aren’t allowed to deliver at any point after 24 weeks, hand the baby over to the doctors, and then run as fast as they can in the opposite direction. There are a number of reasons for this, namely not liking to have to see the outcome of this in terms of pain, suffering and possibly lifelong disability; also the fact that abortion isn’t really, primarily, about the physicality of pregnancy, but avoiding the burdens, emotional and practical, of the continued parent-child relationship, in whatever form. This relational aspect of abortion is usually either elided, or kept coupled with the bodily autonomy argument, because we don’t generally allow people to sever a relationship, however burdensome by eliminating the other party. Either way, this reluctance calls into question our commitment to positive bodily autonomy as a fundamental right, thus calling into question the ethical justification for abortion at any stage.

    In essence it’s not about a cogent ethical framework, it’s about brokering a peace between, moral egocentrism and moral squeamishness.

  45. @Anthony

    There is actually a sociological explanation for why the question is showing gender disparity, and it’s really simple when you think about it.

    1) Men can not get abortions themselves.
    2) We know that if you ask a question “Should people do X” then people will first answer on if *they* would do X, not if people should be *able* to do X.
    3) Men, not being able to have abortions will thus consider the question as “Should people be allowed to do X”, Women will however still lean in answering “Would I do X” first.

    This gives a natural lean in the answer, unless you go out of your way to make sure the question prompts the respondent to answer disregarding their own views on if they themselves would.

  46. @ Crossbat

    You might like this more:

    Sunday’s Opinium/Observer poll shows Labour has enjoyed only a small post-conference bounce, up two points to 41%, an 11% lead over the Tories, who are up 1%.

    But Miliband’s personal ratings have improved impressively with his net approval rating of -10% being the best so far recorded by Opinium.

    Miliband is now well ahead of Cameron on -21% and Nick Clegg on -48%.

    Thirty per cent of voters approve of the way Cameron is doing his job (against 51% who disapprove) while 28% approve of Miliband’s performance (with 38% disapproving).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/oct/06/david-cameron-boris-johnson-opinium

    Lots of polling about Boris presented as a nice graphic (once you click to a much larger version & can see the blooming thing).

  47. Question on abortion. Do you guys have parental notification/consent laws where minors who seek abortions must get permission from their parents or must notify their parents first? Maybe the issue is different with lower ages of consent.

    “It’s the top political story at the moment, because Jeremy Hunt has said in an interview that he still believes the same thing he has believed for years. Personally I think that’s rather silly reason for the press to get all excited about the subject, but nevertheless, I try to provide polling information on what is in the news. None of the polling is new.”

    Wait, is Jeremy Hunt pro-choice or pro-life? If the latter, I think he’s lost some of his sex appeal for me. :(

    @ John Murphy

    “The danger surely is for the contamination of the Conservative brand with the Republican ethos. In the USA conservatism has become ideological. five minutes listening to Fox news reveals only how far this poison has reamed its philosophy.”

    I’m not sure I foresee that happenning. When you look at the most outrageous of the teabaggers and the Republican right, they act a lot like the Labour Militant of the 1980’s. I forget which candidate and which seat this was but I remember seeing a moment in the 1987 election where David Dimbleby mentions that a Labour Parliamentary candidate who stated the need to launch actual violent mob action (real class warfare) against the upper class had lost her election. That seems a lot more like something some Teabagger would say. (Actually I think Sharon Angle sort of did with her whole comment about seeking “Second Amendment” remedies in case she lost her race).

    Tories are just too sensible for that. The Tories are not the type to threaten to throw the UK into default just because they could make a Labour Prime Minister look bad. They’re also not going to sit around gloating about a terrorist attack and immediately politicize it.

    There’s a reason why David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg (and I assume Caroline Lucas and Alex Salmond) are all in agreement that Romney getting elected would be a total disaster.

  48. MANINTHEMIDDLE

    @” Once a woman has had a child however and they actually associate that foetus inside them as unborn child they see the value of human life.”

    There is an interesting trend in the SEpt 4/5 2011 poll which AW links to.

    If you take the two questions should abortion be legal in most cases or legal in all cases & net the scores off, the result through the age bands is :-

    18-24 Net 3 most cases
    25-39 Net 4 all cases
    40-59 Net 10 most cases
    60+ Net 23 most cases.

    There is an interpretation of this trend which might support your feeling.

  49. @ Nick P

    You don’t have to “approve” of it, just realise that to ban it would be to endanger women who still seek a termination.
    —————-
    Aye.

    8-)

  50. Ann in Wales

    I thought you has influenza? Hope you are better – you must be to come on here and read our rubbish (well, mine anyway).

1 2 3