Friday, May 15, 2009

Abortion attitudes -- a barometer of conservative anxiety?

Recent polling has shown a dramatic increase then number of people saying they are against abortion. The increase has been most dramatic amongst whites -- particularly conservatives. Attitudes towards abortion haven't changed substantially amongst Democrats and Blacks.

This recent increase occurred after the election of Obama in November 2008; a similar spike in anti-abortion feelings occurred in 2001.

Could heightened stress from inter-group conflict -- terrorist attacks from Middle East, minorities being elected to the head of our government -- find its expression in greater angst about abortion? Abortion is an easy issue to declare your opposition to -- even those who agree with its need conceptually don't promote the behavior actively.

Its easy to have strong emotions about the killing of babies -- feelings that may not be dissimilar in strength to fears of other groups of people in threatening positions. Perhaps these inter-group fears are displaced and publicly presented in anti-abortion rhetoric.

read PEW Research poll here

read Gallup poll here

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