Why did Ohio voters approve Issue 1 this week? Does it mean that Ohio residents (or Americans) support abortion?
The answer to the second question is no.
And new exit polling conducted for Students for Life of America shows that the reason Ohio voters supported Issue 1 is not because they support abortion. According to the results, many Yes voters approved the ballot measure only because they support very limited or narrow exceptions allowing abortions but oppose abortion as birth control, which means they oppose 98% of abortions.
“We conducted our own exit poll to discover what messaging most compelled a youth voter’s “yes” or “no” vote on Ohio’s Issue 1,” SFLA told LifeNews in a memo today.
“Volunteers were stationed outside polling locations on Tuesday, November 7th . As respondents exited the polls, they were invited to participate in a 7-question survey through flyers, posters, and personal asks from volunteers. Volunteers remained neutral, dressed in plain clothes, and were not associated with either pro-life or pro-choice groups while conducting surveys,” SFLA indicated.
The exit polling found more than half of those who voted “Yes” on Issue 1 did not prioritize abortion through all 9 months. In fact, 33% of those who voted in favor of Issue 1 did so thinking “abortion should be available in certain cases (rape, incest, life of the mother).”
About 4% prioritized “minor’s rights”, not wanting parent involvement with a minor’s decision to either get an abortion or transgender surgery as their primary reason for voting for Issue 1. And another 15% reported there was “something else” other than abortion or rights for minors that was their priority when voting in favor of Issue 1 but didn’t elaborate beyond that.
So what do the results mean?
One of the huge takeaways from the Ohio vote is that Americans now support abortion. That’s not true.
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The Ohio Issue 1 election results differ significantly from Gallup’s polling that it conducted on abortion this summer.
As Gallup notes, “Specifically, close to half of Americans, 47%, now say abortion should be legal in all (34%) or most (13%) circumstances, while a similar proportion, 49%, want it legal in only a few (36%) or illegal in all (13%) circumstances.”
That 49-47 pro-life split is down from the 52-55% pro-life split in Gallup polls prior to the Dobbs decision, which brought forth a temporary rise in support for abortion but still not enough clearly to make abortion support higher than opposition to abortion.
If 33% of Ohio voters only voted for Issue 1 because they support abortion in very rare cases, most of those voters clearly oppose abortion generally. With 43% of voters opposing abortion and voting against Issue 1 and one-third of the 57% of voters favoring Issue 1 only doing so because they favor very limited exceptions, that means 60% of Ohio voters either oppose abortion and voted against Issue 1 or likely oppose most abortions and voted for Issue 1 to preserve those exceptions.
That 60-40 split confirms Americans have not suddenly become pro-abortion but that a plurality of Americans oppose all or most abortions and would likely support abortion bans as long as those key exceptions are included.
As SFLA noted, “One-third of those voting in favor did so not because they wanted abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy, but because they truly believed without such a constitutional amendment, abortion in rare cases would not be covered. This is a significant group who had the potential to vote against Issue 1, if the extreme reality of codifying unregulated late-term abortions was clearly presented to them. Additionally, the exit poll data confirmed that it was, in fact, not wanting abortion through all 9 months that became the biggest influencer of a “No” vote from GenZ.”
The exit polling also confirmed that 85% of Ohio voters who voted against Issue 1 did so because they oppose abortions up to birth. A small minority, roughly 8%, valued “parental rights”, for either abortions or transgender surgery, as their main motivation when voting No on Issue 1.
Students for Life, based on their exit polling, advised that pro-life groups keep fighting the Abortions Up to Birth mantra because Americans generally oppose that idea despite the Issue 1 results.
“Skirting around the issue of abortion has done zero favors for the Pro-Life Movement, underserved women, and vulnerable babies in the womb. Ohio Exit Polling on Issue 1 and the passing of pro-abortion ballot referendums in states where pro-life groups have prioritized issues other than abortion are now clear evidence that voters need to hear from us about abortion extremism,” SFLA told LifeNews.
The survey of 464 voters across Ohio happened across 7 major cities in Ohio. 80% of respondents were GenZ (18- 24), 12% Millennials (25-40), with the remaining 8% aged 41 and older or not responding to the question regarding age. Political party affiliation was reported as: 37% Democrat, 29% Republican, 13% Independent, 13% “Other” or none and 5% not responding to the question regarding political affiliation.
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