When I wrote my Bloomberg View column on the gender gap, I thought about noting that there is no evidence that it has anything to do with abortion — but decided against it, because I hadn’t seen that hoary claim in a while. So naturally it reappeared at the Washington Post the day my column was published. It’s an aside in an unrelated column by Charles Lane (whose work I generally like).
He writes, “If the GOP is becoming the new ‘white man’s party,’ the Democrats are reliant on women and people of color. The causes are, by now, familiar. . . .” His list includes “the GOP embrace of conservative positions on abortion and other social issues, which alienated many women.” The pro-life position has indeed alienated many women, and men, while attracting many others. Where’s the evidence that it has, on net, lost the Republicans female votes? I have never seen any. I have, on the other hand, seen poll after poll that shows no significant difference in views of abortion policy by sex. Women and men oppose (and support) abortion at nearly identical rates.
I suppose it’s theoretically possible that while women and men have similar views on abortion policy, women have more intense views, are therefore more likely to vote on the issue, and have therefore voted for Democrats. But all the data I’ve seen indicates that pro-lifers dominate the group of voters who treat abortion as one of the deciding issues for their ballots.