Values Issues Help Obama

Values issues matter–just not in the way in which they are used as wedge issues by the Republicans. One reason this blog was formed was to counter the claims that the Republicans were winning on values issues when in reality Republicans are out of touch with the country on true questions of values.

One reason John McCain is polling much better than other Republicans is that many voters believe that he is more moderate than he actually is. For example, many are unaware of his opposition to abortion rights. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted a post for NARAL which showed that when the candidates’ views on abortion are considered, Obama moves out to a greater lead. Following are their key findings:

  • Once balanced information about Obama and McCain’s respective positions on choice is introduced, Obama gains 6 points overall, with his lead in battleground states expanding from a net 2 points (47-45 percent) to a net 13 points (53-40 percent).
  • The issue of choice moves the swing vote and generates crossover support. Obama gains 13 points among pro-choice Independent women (who make up 9 percent of this electorate) and 9 points among pro-choice Republican women (who account for 5 percent of this electorate). When these groups are combined, this movement equates to a gain of 1.6 points overall in the general election race against McCain.
  • Choice can also help Obama consolidate his base—Obama gains 6 points among Democratic women after balanced descriptions of the candidates’ positions on choice is introduced.
  • Despite the fact that the national focus seems to be on the economy, among pro-choice Independent women, pro-choice Republican women, and liberal to moderate Republican women, the issue of abortion produces a larger advantage for Democrats than the economy, the war in Iraq, or health care. Moreover, among these three groups critiques on McCain’s anti-choice position are the strongest attacks against him, trumping attacks on the economy, the war, and special interests.

The Republicans have likely diminished their electability by putting abortion back on the table. When people felt confident that Row v. Wade would hold, many people felt that they could safely vote Republican as abortion would remain legal. Now that there is a real chance that the Republican could return us to the era of shirt hanger abortions, it is harder to ignore the views of Republicans on abortion.

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