NARAL: Abortion issue can help Obama win back ‘defectors’ to reelection

Abortion-rights supporters say the issue can help President Obama’s reelection campaign regain ground with voters who supported him in 2008 but have drifted since.

NARAL Pro-Choice America released polling results Wednesday that suggest Obama’s support for abortion rights could bolster his campaign. The poll measured attitudes among so-called “defectors” — female voters who say they don’t plan to support Obama in 2012 despite voting for him in the 2008 election.

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“This time around, we know that choice can provide a way to cut through all of the other data points and all of the other message points that voters are hearing during a tough campaign,” NARAL Political Director Elizabeth Shipp told reporters Wednesday.


According to NARAL’s polling, abortion is among the most compelling issues for female defectors. Forty percent of those polled said they could never vote for a presidential candidate who opposes abortion rights, no matter what the candidate said about other issues.

Female defectors also trust Obama more on the issue of abortion than any other issue, according to the NARAL poll, which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. Obama had a 59-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the issue of abortion in the poll, compared with a 46-point advantage on national security and a 40-point lead on “getting the economy going and creating jobs.”

Shipp said NARAL is well aware that the economy will be the dominant issue in 2012, but that abortion still provides an opportunity to motivate certain groups of voters.

“We know that the role of choice in a landscape dominated by the economy is going to be an interesting one for us,” she said. “We get that.”

The female defectors NARAL surveyed are predominantly white and older than 50. A majority do not have a college degree.