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OPINION

Abortion is the primary issue for 1 in 6 voters

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE (BP) -- Nearly one in 10 registered voters in America say they will only support pro-life candidates who share their position on abortion, a number that is larger than the corresponding data for pro-choice voters, according to a new Gallup poll.
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Specifically, 9 percent of registered voters say they will only support pro-life candidates who oppose abortion while 7 percent of all registered voters say they will only back pro-choice candidates who support legalized abortion.

All total, about one in six voters in America are single-issue voters on abortion.

Gallup's Lydia Saad called it a "slight pro-life tilt, albeit one that could potentially benefit pro-life Republican candidate Mitt Romney."

In fact, Gallup historical data shows the issue has benefited pro-life candidates in every presidential election dating back to 1996, with pro-lifers ahead by 2 percentage points in every election except for 2004, when 12 percent of voters said they'd support only pro-life candidates and 5 percent said they'd support only pro-choice ones. In 2008, the issue favored pro-lifers, 7 percent to 5 percent.

Two other questions on the survey also favored the pro-life community:

-- 27 percent of pro-lifers and 39 percent of pro-choicers say they don't see abortion as a major issue.

-- 49 percent of pro-lifers but only 43 percent of pro-choicers say a "candidate's position on abortion" is "one of many important factors" they consider.

Pro-choicers, Saad wrote, are more likely to vote for a candidate who disagrees with them.

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"Making obvious overtures to abortion issue-voters could hurt Romney and Barack Obama with the broader electorate that may want to see the candidates focusing more single-mindedly on the economy," Gallup's Saad wrote. "It could also backfire by activating abortion voters on the other side to turn out for the opponent. However, it is likely that both candidates are using micro-targeting to find and appeal to these voters as part of a comprehensive campaign strategy to maximize support wherever it exists, particularly in swing states."

The Sept. 24-27 survey was based on interviews with 1,446 adults.

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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