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The Washington Post runs a fascinating report today, analyzing its daily tracking poll on one of the issue points -- the appointment of Supreme Court justices. In a revelation that challenges the conventional wisdom of gender politics, th Post reports that a narrow plurality puts more trust in George Bush to appoint SCOTUS justices than John Kerry:
The survey found that 49 percent of all likely voters surveyed said they had more confidence in the president to choose future Supreme Court justices while 42 percent favor Kerry -- preferences that were sharply shaped by party identification. Three in four Democrats -- 76 percent -- believe Kerry would do a better job filling future vacancies while 89 percent of Republicans chose Bush. Political independents split equally between the two candidates. ...
The gender gap on Supreme Court appointments is smaller for women but larger for men than it is on the overall vote, the survey suggests. Women are two percentage points more likely -- 47 percent to 45 percent -- to have more confidence in Kerry to fill court vacancies. Men trust Bush more than Kerry, 54 percent to 37 percent, a 17-point gap.
Traditionally, women have supported Democratic presidential candidates over the GOP, usually by wide margins; Gore topped Bush among women by eleven points in 2000. That gap usually gets explained by Republican policy stands on reproductive rights, especially abortion. However, in this election, Bush has essentially tied Kerry among women (some polls put Bush in a narrow lead).
Speculation about the cause of the shift usually centers on "security moms" -- those who consider national security a more pressing issue than abortion. However, that doesn't apply to a specific question about appointing Supreme Court justices, while abortion rights impact directly on it. Seeing no change among women supporting Bush tends to imply that abortion no longer carries the same strong backing it previously has with women. In fact, the gap between Bush and Kerry on this question is actually narrower than it is on general support overall for election. Having almost half of all women trust such an explicit right-to-life candidate more with judicial nominations is a paradigm shift of stunning scope.
Kerry has assured voters that he will not nominate any justice who does not support abortion rights, an explicit litmus test that was designed to bolster his sagging numbers with women. However, if the Post poll is any indicator, Kerry may be doing more damage than good among female voters with his pandering position on abortion.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Abortion Views Good Indicator of Voting Pattern
Abortion Views Good Indicator of Voting Pattern from Opinion Times
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Tracked on October 28, 2004 1:02 PM
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