By Anna Swann-Pye
Photo courtesy of Medill DC.
As Election Day quickly approaches, there are a few issues that polled voters feel will determine their decision on election day. For instance, according to a recent Gallup poll, of 1,301 registered voters surveyed, 17 percent of those say that a candidate must share their abortion views and 45% say that it is an important factor.
In another study, Gallup continues to elaborate on these numbers – breaking the voters down into demographics and showing that, of all registered voters, those who will most often vote pro-choice are post-graduates and non-religious adults.
But what would happen if the tides started to turn? Students for Life in America, the largest Youth Pro-Life organization in the United States, is working in these last months to shift the voting trend. With their I Vote Pro-Life First campaign, they encourage viewers to sign a pledge which states, “I will never support or vote for a candidate that endorses the killing of pre-born children.” The organization plans to make calls and house visits to 300,000 voters before November, educating young residents about their pro-life responsibilities in the upcoming election.
With a slew of sensational videos, Students for Life is insisting that “we are the pro-life generation” and their website states: “As national polls have confirmed, this generation of young people is pro-life.”
It is slightly more complicated than that, though. According to the Gallup study, although there has been a decline in self-identification as pro-choice, Americans’ basic views about the legality of abortion are unchanged in the past year – in fact, views on abortion have shifted only slightly since 2009.
Yes, it is true that the youth vote for Obama is predicted to be less overwhelming this year. Where in 2008, 66% of young adults under the age of 29 voted for our president, JZ Analytics tracked just over 40% of that demographic polling for Governor Romney. But this tidal shifting, it is suggested, has more to do with a general disillusionment than it does with any specific issue. Maddy Matthews writes for policymic.com, “the frustration of 1.5 million unemployed B.A graduates is rising, pushing them away from Obama and towards Romney.”
Although Students For Life in America certainly made a valiant effort – what with their founding of the De-Fund Planned Parenthood campaign in 2008 and their Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition in 2009 – it is not clear that the group is going to have any major effects on a national level this election. President Obama will still get the youth majority (although by a less massive margin, it seems) and post-graduates will continue to come out as pro-choice in the polls.
Despite this, though, the Students For Life in America is demonstrating one thing very clearly: abortion has not ceased to be a heated topic in the United States. But with a good portion of America’s abortion beliefs set in stone, it’s going to take more than Youth For Life to truly turn the tides.