Going anti-abortion won’t help you, Dems

Going anti-abortion won't help you Dems

by digby

This piece in Huffington Post by Amanda Terkel should be read by every Democratic strategist who is just sure that if only the Democrats would stop being so damned rigid on women's rights, they could pick off a few Republicans. It's not at all clear that the supposedly make or break issue of abortion is especially important:

{T}here’s been significant speculation that if Jones were anti-abortion, maybe ― just maybe ― some Republicans who find Moore distasteful would vote Democratic.

But a new poll questions that assumption.

On Nov. 4-5, Clarity Campaign Labs, a Democratic polling firm, surveyed 707 Alabama voters in a survey commissioned by Planned Parenthood Votes. (Planned Parenthood has no involvement in the Alabama special election and has not endorsed a candidate.) The results were shared with HuffPost.

Clarity Campaign Labs was specifically interested in Republican voters who might be persuaded to back Jones. The survey found that less than 1.5 percent of Moore’s supporters said they had considered switching and backing Jones.

The pollster then tried to figure out why those voters decided to stick with Moore. Was it because of Jones’ support for abortion rights?

But Clarity didn’t want to limit people with a list of possible answers. So they were asked to explain, in their own words, why they continued to reject Jones.

“Abortion wasn’t really in the top couple issues people gave us,” said John Hagner, the Clarity pollster who conducted the survey.

More than one-third of those Republican voters who said they decided not to switch to Jones gave a reason that fell into the category of just generally not liking him. Ten percent said they didn’t like his personal history. (Jones is a former U.S. attorney best known for finally putting Ku Klux Klan members behind bars for blowing up an African-American church back in 1963.) Eight percent cited abortion as the reason.

“Of the people who were undecided, they weren’t citing choice as the major driver,” Hagner said. “Of the people who had considered voting for Jones and decided not to, there was a whole range of issues.”

The poll was conducted before the Moore underage molestation revelations which actually makes it more convincing.

Jones is simply "disliked" by certain people for a bunch of different reasons that people can't really articulate but which probably come down to simple tribalism (Democrats: bad) and the fact that he put white supremacists in jail.
Or maybe it's something else. But abortion isn't the first thing that most Alabamans said was their reason --- it's just the one that the Republicans are trying to push as the "respectable" reason to oppose him in spite of his predatory behavior.

One hopes that Democrats will take the time to explore this more fully. It's always very easy to just "accept" that if you abandon women's rights you can pick up some of those Real Americans because it's the most important cultural affinity signifier. But that may not be true.