Democrats are increasingly out of line with public opinion on abortion

Blue state legislators and Democratic presidential candidates seem to be in a bidding war to determine who can be the most extreme when it comes to permitting abortions. Vermont has passed legislation that allows abortion at any point in a pregnancy, and several contenders for the presidency have shown by their Senate vote that they are fine with doing in babies who survive attempted abortions.

But a new poll conducted by Marist for the Knights of Columbus shows that the public takes a dim view of late term abortions. The public wasn’t polled on infanticide via denial of medical treatment, but I assume its view of that practice is dimmer still.

Only 13 percent of those polled said they believe that abortion should be available to woman at any time during her pregnancy. Another 8 percent said they believe abortion should be allowed in the first six months.

Of the remainder, 17 percent abortion should never be allowed; 12 percent said it should be allowed only to save the life of the mother; 29 percent said it should allowed to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest; and 22 percent said it should be allowed only in the first three months of pregnancy.

Even among Democrats, only 35 percent said they believe abortion should be permitted at any time during the pregnancy (22 percent) or during any time up to six months into the pregnancy (13 percent). With Democratic contenders scrambling to please that 35 percent, there may be an opportunity for a Democrat who takes a position more in line with the remaining 64 percent. But maybe taking such a position would risk ex communication.

For me, the most surprising result was of the the change in public sentiment detected by Marist between January and February of this year. In January, Marist found that 38 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-life, while 55 percent said they are “pro-choice.” In February, the public was evenly divided at 47 percent each.

The result of the February poll falls outside the margin of error of the January one. So what explains the shift Marist measured? Perhaps the extreme positions on abortion taken recently some Democratic legislatures and presidential candidates have given “pro-choice” a bad name.

They certainly should.

As noted, the poll was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic volunteer and charitable organization. However, it was conducted by Marist. That operation, led by Lee Miringoff (a distant cousin, though not as distant as I once thought), is not pro-conservative.

I see no reason to question the poll’s findings. Democrats might want to take note of them.

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