There are a lot social issues that the GQP is using to divide the American public and conquer in elections. These are everything from abortion to guns to #COVID19 to race to the debt. And, they all have one thing in common: most Americans — and my most Americans, I mean middle class white suburban Americans — just tune them out when the rhetoric gets too heated.
In this two-part post, we’ll first explain the reason 70+% of Americans “support” issue maintaining Roe v. Wade in polls, but we end up with GQP majorities in the legislatures across the country that are trying to destroy it using the reporting of Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux over at FiveThirtyEight, who did a deep dive into the polls on abortion and came away with some interesting. Then, in the second part, we’ll review eview the ways Dems should’ve been able to predict the way Americans — remember the independent middle-class suburban white voter — would react and should’ve been prepared for it.
Like so many issues, Americans will tell posters that they support Roe v. Wade, and then those exact same voters will elect conservative GQP politicians who work to undermine it. So, where’s the disconnect? What’s happening here? What explains the disconnect?
Thomson-DeVeaux took a deep look at polling and did some interviewing and came to these conclusions:
- People don’t like to think or talk about it. It’s a loaded confusing issue that many people have strong extreme views on. It’s a minefield. You never know when someone is going to go off when the subject comes up. In fact, recent polling suggests that most people don’t even know that Roe v. Wade is in danger of being overturned.
- People don’t rank it very highly in political importance. Only 4% of people in a recent YouGov/The Economist poll ranked it as the most important issue in America. So, if you ask, should Roe v. Wade be the law of the land, 70+% say yes, but it isn’t what drives their vote.
- People fall into three groups. For a small minority (10 – 15%), abortion should be illegal in all cases. For a larger minority (25 – 30%), it should be legal in all cases. And the rest (55 – 65%), it should be legal in most cases, but restricted in others. The restrictions range from everything other rape, incest, and protecting the mother’s life, to permitted until late term.
- People don’t know much about the technical details of pregnancy. The standard in Roe v. Wade is viability of the fetus. Until the fetus in viable, abortion should be available. There is widespread agreement on that point and that abortion should be available in the first trimester (60%) but is much more limited in the second (28%). The funny thing is viability doesn’t begin until the end of the second trimester.
- People think that the decision to have an abortion is personal. In a recent ABC News/The Washington Post poll 75% thought that the decision about having an abortion should be made between a woman and her doctor without state interference.
- People have many misconceptions of abortion. Surveys have found that most people don’t understand pregnancy well enough to really evaluate the laws that are on being proposed and debated in the courts.
- Most people think that abortions happen much later in pregnancies than they actually do. The reality is that the vast majority of abortions happen in the first trimester but after six weeks of pregnancy.
- Most people don’t know how long a pregnancy lasts in terms of weeks and don’t do the math to figure out when the trimesters are if they do. Pregnancy is approximately 40 weeks long making the first trimester from one to twelve weeks, the second, thirteen to twenty-six, and the third twenty-seven to forty.
- Most people don’t know how their state regulates abortion.
- Few people know whether their states have a trigger law or not. A trigger law is a law that would ban abortion should SCOTUS overturn Roe v. Wade. Currently twelve states have trigger laws.
- Most people think that abortion is much more dangerous than it is.
- The Texas abortion-ban is the exception. Many people are upset about it, including forced birthers.
- People don’t pay attention to abortion news unless its been in the news with sustained coverage for a few weeks.
I reckon that most Americans have the same reaction to most of the divisive issues facing the country today. Once the extreme right takes over an issue and raises its hysteria level to an eleven, then many of the iNdEpEnDeNt VoTeRs just tune it out and ignore it.
Knowing the reasons that people do tune out issues can help shape not only the Democratic Party’s messaging around these issues, but the way you and I behave towards our friends and neighbors in recruiting them to vote against the impending GOP Dystopia, so have a look at part-two of the post.
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There’s lots to comment on in this post! Why not let us know your views?
- On abortion in general. Everyone has their own nuanced thoughts. I’d love to discuss yours.
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- Your explanation about why people are so gosh-darn stupid about abortion and other issues facing America?
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