Gallup is both one of the oldest polling organizations and among the closest to objective, making it doubly irresponsible when it injects nonsense and ignorance into policy debates. This is what it did with two recent polls, headlined thusly: “Steady 58% of Americans Do Not Want Roe v. Wade Overturned” and “‘Pro-Choice’ Identification Rises to Near Record High in U.S.”
The immediate response here is “So what?” Abortion, at least since the misbegotten Roe v. Wade SCOTUS ruling in 1973, is matter of Constitutional law and individual rights, and neither of these are determined by popular opinion.. Nor should they be. Yet the reflex refrain of demagogues and the habitually dishonest when they are out of legitimate arguments is “the public overwhelmingly supports/opposes [fill in the blank],” a contention that inevitably depends on polling.
The threshold question Gallup asked its respondents on the abortion issue was “With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?” Useless. Did Gallup define what “pro-choice” or “pro-life” meant? Nope. Do “pro-choice” Americans believe a potential mother should be able to “choose” to kill a viable fetus right up to the moment of birth? Do they believe that abortion involves the taking of a life at any point? Ever? Do they care? Who knows? I don’t think most of those who responded that they were “pro-choice” know. It’s garbage in, garbage out: the poll results are meaningless, but they will still be cited as if they are profound.
On the survival of Roe, Gallup’s question was, “Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision concerning abortion, or not?” Gallup did not screen its polling group with essential questions, including…
- “Have you read the SCOTUS opinion in Roe v. Wade?”
- “Have you read the leaked Alito draft explaining the reasons for overturning it?”
- “Have you ever read any SCOTUS opinion?”
- “What is your understanding of what will occur if Roe is overturned?”
- “If you haven’t read Roe or the Alito draft, on what basis have you formed your opinion about Roe?”
Absent answers to these questions (and others), all Gallup is relaying are uninformed opinions, the bane of democracy. These will then be picked up by mainstream media organizations with a pro-abortion agenda, and headlined to allow elected officials rationalizations to compound the confusion while engaging in incompetent and irresponsible policy deliberations.