Nate Silver parses some abortion polls:
I don't think Democrats ought to take for granted that public opinion is etched in stone on the abortion choice issue. That increasing numbers of young people, for instance, are apparently taking a pro-life, but pro-gay marriage position suggests that terms on which this issue was debated among Baby Boomers may not resonate in the same ways with Gen Y'ers, whose opinions may be more malleable.
The more obvious and salient fact, however, as we are about to begin the debate over President Obama's Supreme Court pick, is that support for Roe v Wade has always been higher than support for either the "pro-choice" or the legal abortion positions in the abstract, and remains that way today. Republicans are probably in error if they think they can gain ground with the public by vigorously opposing Obama's Supreme Court pick for this reason.
Maybe Roe is a symbol of a settlement that most people don't want disturbed. That's its only merit so far as I can see. My own view is that the next generation simply believes that gay people are human beings and deserve respect and equality, and that women should retain the right to abortion in the first trimester, but should use that right to choose life. That's roughly where I am. It's not a position you are allowed to hold in the current Republican party. And that's a serious, serious problem if they ever want to become a majority in the future.
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