Statement by David N. O’Steen, Ph.D.
Executive Director, National Right to Life Committee
November 4, 2004
First, I would like to congratulate President Bush and Vice President Cheney on their most impressive victory. Their re-election was a great day for America and for America’s children.
This year’s presidential election offered voters the clearest contrast ever on the issue of abortion between the two candidates. President Bush’s pro-life position and record is well-known, and the Kerry-Edwards team was the most openly pro-abortion presidential ticket ever. Kerry-Edwards had been described as a dream ticket for NARAL and Planned Parenthood. In fact, John Kerry was the first presidential candidate ever endorsed by Planned Parenthood.
A nationwide post-election poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide (n=1,002, +/- 3.1%) showed that abortion was indeed a major issue for voters in the campaign. As we have seen in previous elections, the overwhelming majority of voters who voted on the basis of abortion, voted for pro-life candidates George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as for other pro-life candidates.
On the issue of abortion, the poll asked:
Generally speaking, did the abortion issue affect the way you voted in today’s election?
Yes – 42%
voted for candidates who oppose abortion: 25%
voted for candidates who support abortion: 13%
Net increment for pro-life candidates: 12%
Of those who said abortion affected their vote, the poll also found:
voted for George W. Bush: 56% (24% of electorate)
voted for John Kerry: 36% (15% of electorate)
DK/refused: 8% (3% of electorate)
In another test of the importance of the abortion issue, respondents were asked “which of the following was most important to you?” and given a list of eighteen responses.
Abortion was the most important: 8%
Voted for George W. Bush 6%
Voted for John Kerry: 2%
Net “most important” issue increment for Bush: 4%
Respondents were also asked to volunteer “what was the main reason you voted for … for President?” as an open-ended question.
His position on abortion: 6%
Voted for George W. Bush 5%
Voted for John Kerry: 1%
Net “most important” issue increment for Bush: 4%
The poll shows that the nationwide net increment gained by President Bush because of his pro-life position was more than the President’s margin of victory in a number of close states, including Florida and Ohio, as well as his overall margin of victory in the nationwide popular vote.
Respondents were asked “Do you recall hearing or seeing any advertising, receiving any information in the mail, receiving any literature, or receiving a telephone call from the National Right to Life Political Action Committee?” A total of 22% said yes, they recalled hearing or seeing something from NRL PAC.
The poll also re-affirmed that the vast majority of Americans oppose the current policy mandated by Roe v. Wade which allows abortion for any reason, even as a method of birth control, until “viability,” and for mental “health” even after viability. Respondents were asked “which one of the following statements most closely describes your personal position on the issue of abortion?”
Total Pro-Life: 55%
Abortion should never be legal -- 10%
Abortion should be legal only for the mother’s life – 16%
Abortion should be legal only for life, rape, incest – 29%
Total Pro-Choice: 40%
Abortion should be legal for any reason during first 3 months – 25%
Abortion should be legal for any reason during first 6 months – 6%
Abortion should always be legal – 9%
On a matter that may come before the next Congress, the poll found that an overwhelming majority of Americans support a law that would require women be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion. This question essentially describes the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act now pending in Congress. Respondents were asked:
“There is a growing consensus among scientists that human fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks in the womb. Do you favor or oppose laws requiring that women who are 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancies be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion?”
We are extremely pleased and delighted with the re-election of George W. Bush as President of the United States. Pro-lifers always work hard, but their efforts to give this wonderful president another four years in office were exceptional.
We are also looking forward to working with many new pro-life members of Congress.
Overall, National Right to Life PAC was involved in more than 40 closely-contested House and Senate races and won 70% of the races in which it was involved. Pro-abortion forces poured in unprecedented amounts of money. If anything can be said with absolute certainty, it is that without the active and energetic involvement of pro-lifers all over the country, pro-life forces would have suffered devastating losses.
Of the nine new members of the Senate, seven are pro-life. The new pro-life Senators are Mel Martinez of Florida, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, David Vitter of Louisiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and John Thune of South Dakota.
Mel Martinez and Jim DeMint defeated EMILY’s List candidates. Richard Burr defeated pro-abortion Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Clinton and, of course, John Thune defeated pro-abortion Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
Of 38 new members in the House of Representatives, 20 are pro-life and we expect three other new members to vote with us most of the time, giving us, in all practical effect, a 57% share of the new members.
Notable is the defeat of four pro-abortion members of Congress– Max Sandlin, Nick Lampson, and Martin Frost– all of Texas, and Baron Hill of Indiana. We regret the loss of two pro-life members, Max Burns of Georgia and Phil Crane of Illinois.
PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT PROVIDES INCREMENT
We have known for many years that being pro-life helps a candidate in his or her race. In a typical national race, pro-lifers can deliver at least a 3% to 4% net advantage to the pro-life candidate. This was borne out again this year.
A Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll, taken November 2, found that 42% of the people said that abortion affected their vote. Twenty-five percent said they voted for pro-life candidates while 13% voted for pro-abortion candidates. This comes out to a 12% increment for pro-life candidates.
Asked in another manner, 8% of the voters said that abortion was the most important issue in deciding who to vote for-- 6% voted for George W. Bush while 2% voted for John Kerry. This was a net increment of 4% for President Bush.
In a close election, this 4% advantage made the difference between winning and losing.
We are, of course, very proud of the record and activities of National Right to Life PAC. A Wirthlin poll, conducted on November 2, found that 22% of all voters nationwide could recall hearing or seeing advertising, or receiving information, from National Right to Life PAC.
Once again, the energy and enthusiasm of thousands of pro-lifers all over the country have prevailed. Wonderful and selfless people have given of their time, money, and talents to help save innocent, unborn children, placing their concern for these children above all other issues. Their dedication and sincerity continue to triumph.