Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gallup's "pro-life" poll actually showed 76% of Americans support abortion rights

This snippet of analysis is from Flesh and Stone:

Gallup's "pro-life" poll deserves greater scrutiny.

The strategically timed release of a poll showing a sudden 10-point flip in American views on abortion should raise a few eyebrows.

Gallup’s press release claimed, "More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time."

While partisan mainstream editorial writers openly gloated about the “stunning” and “shocking” poll released in May, few traditional media looked critically and honestly at what the poll actually revealed, and reported the findings with the same slant as the news release. Rather than spending a minute exploring why it was stunning or shocking, the media simply reported it as fact.

First off, polls should be suspect. While they may have been reliable in a more innocent age, Gallup, like many other polling companies, is a for-profit corporation. They are commissioned to conduct polls. Unfortunately, polling companies are not required to disclose the name of the commissioning organization, even though it’s the ethically responsible thing to do.

The Gallup poll was released on the day anti-abortion groups planned protests against President Obama's commencement address at Notre Dame and just as there’s a new seat to fill on the U.S. Supreme Court. It certainly smells of partisan efforts to create a buzz and revitalize controversy.

Here’s what the watchdogs said about the Gallup poll as well as a Pew poll that also re-interpreted long-standing findings about America’s stand on abortion choice: