If This Harvard-Harris Poll Is Correct, The Public Is Confused But Not Corrupted Regarding Abortion

I don’t trust polls, and I really don’t trust Harvard. However, the new poll by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll gives me hope, and, I confess, I especially appreciate it because it reflects what I thought was the case anyway. The abortion-related polling is at the end of the poll report, but I don’t think that’s why the mainstream media has concentrated on the topics represented earlier. You will see why.

The poll is here. Predictably, it indicates that the American public doesn’t understand the law or the function of the Supreme Court as well as an educated and civically responsible populace in a democracy should, but then they have been manipulated, deceived and under-educated on these matters. It also indicates, contrary to the claims of the pro-abortion forces, that the public isn’t fooled: it knows that there is more to an abortion than a woman’s “choice.”

Seventy-two percent of those polled supported abortion bans after 15 weeks, like the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs, or even less. Thirty-seven percent said abortion should only be legal in cases of incest or rape. That may be an ethically inconsistent position from an absolutist perspective, but it is a long way from abortion-on-demand. Only 10% supported abortion up to the moment of birth. That would seem a likely result, but in the wake of Dobbs, increasing numbers of Democrats and abortion-lovers have openly embraced that brutal practice.

Sure, more than half polled said they thought the Supreme Court was wrong to overturn Roe v. Wade, an opinion almost none of those polled have read, disagreeing with the Dobbs ruling that they also haven’t read. That doesn’t mean they support a Constitutional right to kill a 9-month-old fetus, however. It may just mean that they think triggering another huge culture war battle at this time is a political and strategic mistake. I rather think that too, but SCOTUS shouldn’t pay attention to political expediency.

About a quarter of those polled said they believe that abortion law should be decided by Supreme Court justices, with 44% saying that states should set abortion standards and 31% wanting to let Congress decide. As I said in the headline, the public is confused. The poll never asked what respondents thought overturning Roe did in practical terms. As I have mentioned here before, I am sure many of them think that Dobbs made abortion illegal. A strong majority said that the decision had caused “turmoil.” You can’t argue with that.

However, if accurate—and you know: polls—this poll destroys the narrative that mass outrage over Dobbs will derail the expected “red wave” facing Democrats in the Fall. It also supports my contention that Dobbs has flushed out the unethical and callous attitude of progressives towards abortion, which is a position that the public will not support. As Stephen Miller writes in the Washington Examiner:

…the main problem for Democrats lies in their extreme position on abortion up to the moment of birth. Roe acted as a warm duvet over the operational procedures of abortion. It allowed Democrats to stand by a “pro-choice” talking point without having to defend it to a moderate electorate still not comfortable with a party willing to celebrate abortion. With Roe lifted, Democrats now have to go about the act of actually selling abortion by campaigning on it at state levels. For the first time in 50 years, national office seekers will have to specify their positions. Democrats will be forced either to stand firm on an unpopular extreme or moderate their positions and anger their base further. As of now, they cannot decide, and they are unprepared.

The poll suggests that progressives, Democrats and the mainstream media have miscalculated how flexible American are when it comes to ethical values, and that, once again, Honest Abe may be proven right. The American public may be confused, but when it comes to core values, they are not so easily fooled.

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