June 10, 2007

How to Manipulate Abortion Survey Results

Filed under: Abortion,Film,Politics — acepundit @ 3:09 pm

The liberal-leaning online magazine Slate ran a story last Friday on the surprise controversy of the movie “Knocked Up,” a film about a girl who unintentionally gets pregnant but keeps the child because there isn’t another option in Hollywood – whereas in the real world she almost certainly would have opted for an abortion.

The author mentions (without citation) that a whopping 77% of Americans favor abortion and suggests the heroine of the film wouldn’t be such a bad guy if she went through the procedure, especially with that 77% behind her.

Then the New York Times ran a similar piece today citing a NYT/CBS News Poll saying “three-fourths of Americans favor access to abortion, though about half of those would like to see more restrictions than now.”

And there’s the rub. Assuming Slate used the same poll, it’s evident that abortion supporters ignore the part about the majority of Americans favoring restrictions.

The poll asked the question this way:

“Which of these comes closest to your view? Abortion should be generally available to those who want it. OR, Abortion should be available, but under stricter limits than it is now. OR, Abortion should not be permitted.”

The results tell a different story than what pro-choicers tells us. According to the survey, 39% of Americans believe abortion should be “generally available.” Yet almost as many, 37%, believe the limits we have now on abortion should be stricter. Finally, 21% are firmly against the procedure.

From those figures, a majority of Americans (58%) believe that either abortion should be outright illegal or at the very least harder to access. The survey doesn’t ask what restrictions the majority of Americans favor, but one that’s quite popular is restricting abortion unless needed to save the life of the woman.

Sorry Slate, but even if the restrictions didn’t go that far, I don’t think the majority of Americans would be happy with the film’s protagonist getting an abortion simply because she got “knocked up.”



  1. I support a required ultrasound prior to the procedure…does that count as a restriction?

    Comment by The Gentle Cricket — June 10, 2007 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  2. Good work digging into the background on this. It illustrates just how skeptical of polling data in a news story we should be. Polls shouldn’t be reported as any sort of news. As Slate illustrates, you can manipulate a poll to mean anything you want.

    Comment by Andy D — June 11, 2007 @ 7:46 am | Reply

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