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Zogby Poll Reveals: Abortion Tough Issue for Hillary Clinton & '06 Congressional Democrats

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LOS ANGELES, March 22 /PRNewswire/ --

Federal candidates who make abortion rights an important part of their election platform this year and in 2008 may find themselves swimming against the current of American political thinking, a new Zogby Interactive survey shows.

The survey, commissioned by Associated Television News and The O'Leary Report, included 30,117 respondents in the 48 contiguous states, and was conducted from March 10-14, 2006. It carries a margin of error of +/- 0.6 percentage points.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030425/ATNLOGO )

The poll included 20 questions on abortion pertaining to activity on the state or federal level. Analysis of the survey included matching the responses against those respondents who said they'd support the two leading candidates for the 2008 presidential contest: Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton (33%) and Republican Senator John McCain (50%). More analysis was conducted by matching the poll respondents who indicated that they'd support a Democrat (42%) or a Republican (40%) for Congress in the 2006 election.

Pollster John Zogby noted that "while much of the poll's findings suggest Democrats will have trouble gaining a political advantage by using the emotionally charged issue of abortion, voters are still evenly split on whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees a woman's right to choose to have an abortion." Forty-six percent of the respondents agreed that there was a constitutional guarantee while 45% disagreed.

Associated Television News President Brad O'Leary, who commissioned the poll, added that much of the results may "spell disaster for Democrats who try to run on the abortion issue. The abortion issue is this year's political 'third rail' for congressional Democrats and for Hillary Clinton in 2008," said O'Leary. O'Leary speculated that the recent confirmation hearings for Justices Alito and Roberts and may have galvanized undecided voters into the pro-life camp, and noted that 71% of voters disagreed that the Senate should confirm only pro-choice Supreme Court Justices, while just 17% agreed with the statement.

Asked whether respondents favored using a filibuster of Supreme Court nominees because of their position on abortion, only 28% agreed with the tactic, while 59% opposed it.

Abortion may become to Democrats what Social Security was to Republicans during the 1970's and 1980's -- a "third rail" that caused the GOP continual political trouble.

"There is absolutely no way a presidential or a congressional candidate running for office can grow their base if they insist on championing the abortion issue," Mr. O'Leary said. The poll found a majority of respondents on 16 of the 20 questions took an anti-abortion position, including:

    
    - Parental notification laws that were recently upheld by the Supreme
      Court (55% support for girls 18 yrs. & younger; 69% for girls 16 yrs.
      old & younger; only 36% and 23% disagree respectively)

    - Abortion ends a human life (59% agree; 29% disagree)

    - The prohibition of federal funds for abortions abroad (69% agree with
      the prohibition; 21% disagree)

    - Abortion because of the sex of the fetus (86% agree should be illegal;
      10% disagree should be illegal)

    - Requiring insurance plans to cover abortions where the life of the
      mother is not endangered (56% disagree with such a requirement; 12%
      agree)

    - When life begins (50% believe it begins at conception; 19% believe life
      begins at birth)

    - A new federal partial-birth abortion bill (50% want to see another
      bill; 39% don't want to see another bill)

    - Requiring counseling about a mother's options before undergoing an
      abortion (55% agree with such a counseling requirement; 37% disagree)

    - A 24-hour waiting period (56% agree with waiting period; 37% disagree)

    - Federal & state financing of abortions for poor women (51% disagree
      with financing; 37% disagree)

    - Laws that charge a person who kills a pregnant woman with two murders
      (64% agree with such laws; 23% disagree)

The poll results suggest a shift in the electorate away from abortion rights over the past decade, Mr. O'Leary said. They also suggest that congressional Democrats who champion abortion rights could lose as much as 20 percent support from the electorate.

The issue may affect the 2008 presidential contest, the poll shows, as 60% to 80% percent of Hillary Clinton's support on most of the 20 abortion questions clearly comes from those voters who favor abortion rights. Conversely, 75% to 90% percent of those voters who support John McCain take a pro-life position on the questions.

Following are tables on these 20 poll questions and how they break down among voters who say they will support a Republican or Democrat in the 2006 Congressional elections and among Hillary Clinton and John McCain supporters for the 2008 presidential election is attached.

Q11. Do you agree or disagree that a woman's right to choose to have an abortion is guaranteed by the US Constitution?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional             Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          46      80     11     40       83        21        47 
    Disagree       45       9     82     46        8        71        40 
    Not Sure       10      11      7     14        9         9        14 

Q12. Do you agree or disagree that the confirmation of a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court should be filibustered on the Senate floor because of the nominee's opinion on abortion?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                          2006 Congressional              Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.    Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          28      57      2     18        61         7        26 
    Disagree       59      21     95     66        17        88        54 
    Not Sure       13      22      3     16        21         6        20 

Q13. Do you agree or disagree that nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court should be confirmed only if their position on abortion is pro-choice?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional             Match up           
                    Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree             18      35      2     11        38         5        15 
    Disagree          71      46     96     78        42        92        68 
    Not Sure          11      20      2     11        20         4        17 

Q14. Do you agree or disagree that states should pass laws to require parental notification in order for a girl under the age of 18 to have an abortion?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          55      23     89     56      22         79        49 
    Disagree       36      66      7     30      67         14        39 
    Not Sure        9      12      5     14      11          7        13 

Q15. Do you agree or disagree that states should pass laws to require parental notification in order for a girl under the age of 16 to have an abortion?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree         69      43     95     73        41        89        63 
    Disagree      23      43      3     18        45         7        24 
    Not Sure       9      14      2     10        13         4        13 

Q16. The United States prohibits foreign aid money being used for abortions in countries where the abortion is done because of the sex of the fetus. Do you agree or disagree with this prohibition?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          69      48     90     73       47        86        64 
    Disagree       21      37      6     18       37        10        24 
    Not Sure        9      15      3     10       16         4        12

Q17. Do you agree or disagree that it should be illegal in the US to have an abortion because of the sex of the fetus?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree         86      74     92     87        74        90        85 
    Disagree      10      18      7      8        18         8         9 
    Not Sure       4       8      2      5         8         3         6

Q18. Do you agree or disagree that abortion ends a human life?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree         59      28     90     62        27        81        53 
    Disagree      29      55      6     22        57        11        30 
    Not Sure      12      17      5     16        16         8        17

Q19. In some states, if a pregnant woman is murdered, the person committing the murder is guilty of two murders, the woman and her child. Do you agree or disagree with this law?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          64      67     92     67      36        85        56 
    Disagree       23      42      4     17      44         8        25 
    Not Sure       13      21      4     16      20         7        19 

Q20. Do you agree or disagree that federal or state governments should finance abortions for poor women?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          37      67      8     29      70        15        38 
    Disagree       51      19     84     53      17        75        46 
    Not Sure       12      14      7     18      13        10        16 

Q21. Do you agree or disagree that private insurance plans should be required to finance abortions in cases where the woman's life is not endangered?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          33      58      9     26      60        15        32 
    Disagree       56      27     85     60      25        78        50 
    Not Sure       12      16      6     15      15         8        18 

Q22. Which of the following best describes when you think life begins?

    
                                                  Hypothetical Presidential  
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                  Total   Dem.   Rep.   Ind.    Clinton   McCain    Undec.
    At conception   50     20    81      51      19        72        45 
    At 3 months      9     12     6       9      12         7         8 
    At 6 months      8     14     3       7      13         5         9 
    At birth        19     35     4      15      37         7        19 
    Not sure        14     20     6      17      19         9        19 

Q23. A. Parents are responsible for the welfare and health of their children. A parent should be notified if their minor daughter is seeking to have an abortion. B. There are lots of reasons why a minor might not want to tell her parents that she is seeking an abortion. There should be no mandatory parental notification for a minor seeking an abortion.

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Statement A    59      27     92     61      26        83        52 
    Statement B    32      62      4     26      64        10        36 
    Neither         9      12      4     13      11         6        12

Q24. Two federal judges struck down a law prohibiting partial-birth abortion, which was passed overwhelmingly in Congress and was signed into law by President Bush, because the health of the mother was not included as an exception. Do you agree or disagree that Congress should pass another Partial-Birth Abortion law to make the procedure illegal?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          50      17     85     53      15        76        44 
    Disagree       39      69     10     32      72        16        42 
    Not Sure       11      14      6     15      13         8        14 

Q25. Do you agree or disagree that a federal law or state laws be passed similar to the one already in place in four states, that would restrict the coverage of abortion in private insurance plans only to cases in which the woman's life is in danger if the pregnancy is carried to term?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                           2006 Congressional            Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          44      16     74     45      15        66        37 
    Disagree       44      73     15     39      74        22        47 
    Not Sure       12      12     11     16      11        12        16

Q26. Do you agree or disagree that a federal law or state laws should be enacted mandating that women be given counseling prior to an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer, the ability of a fetus to feel pain, long-term mental health consequences for the woman and/or the availability of services and funding should the woman decide to carry the pregnancy to term?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                          2006 Congressional             Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          55      28     82     57      28        74        50 
    Disagree       37      63     12     32      64        19        39 
    Not Sure        8       9      6     11       9         7        11 

Q27. Do you agree or disagree that a federal law or state laws should be enacted to require a woman seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours from when she goes for the abortion to when the procedure is performed so that she receives counseling?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                          2006 Congressional             Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          56      30     82     57      29        75        50 
    Disagree       37      62     12     32      63        19        39 
    Not Sure        8       8      6     12       8         7        11 

Q28. Do you agree or disagree that more state laws should be passed, similar to the recent law passed in Missouri, which allows civil lawsuits to be filed against anyone who helps a teen obtain an abortion without parental consent?

    
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                          2006 Congressional             Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          45      11     82     44      10        70        39 
    Disagree       48      83     12     44      84        22        52 
    Not Sure        8       7      7     12       6         8        10 

Q29. Abortion rights groups are backing lawsuits against pharmacies who refuse to sell the morning-after pill. Do you agree or disagree that pharmacies and pharmacists be protected against such lawsuits?

     
                                                 Hypothetical Presidential   
                          2006 Congressional             Match up           
                 Total    Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton    McCain    Undec.
    Agree          48      18     79     52      17        71        43 
    Disagree       46      78     15     39      79        22        50 
    Not Sure        6       4      6     10       4         7         8 

Q30. Do you think that the morning-after abortion pill, commercially known as Plan B, should be available over the counter or should it be available only by prescription?

    
                                                  Hypothetical Presidential  
                            2006 Congressional            Match up          
                    Total   Dem.   Rep.   Ind.   Clinton   McCain   Undec.
    Available over   44     70     18     41       71       25       46 
     the counter                                                              
    Available only   31     24     37     32       22       37       28 
     by prescription                                                         
    Not available at                                                     
     all             19      2     37     17        2       29       19 
    Not sure          7      5      8     10        5        8        8 

SOURCE Associated Television News



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