The Journal of Politics

Research Notes

It's Abortion, Stupid: Policy Voting in the 1992 Presidential Election

Alan I. Abramowitza1

a1 Emory University

This article uses data from the 1992 American National Election Study to analyze the influence of abortion attitudes on candidate choice in the 1992 presidential election. Despite the general belief that the presidential election was decided almost exclusively on economic issues, attitudes toward abortion had a significant influence on candidate choice in the overall electorate. Although the issue divided supporters of both parties, far more “pro-choice” Republicans than “pro-life” Democrats defected from their party's presidential candidate. Abortion had a stronger influence on candidate choice than any other policy issue included in the study, including affirmative action, social welfare, defense spending, the Gulf War, and the death penalty. Furthermore, among voters who were aware of the parties’ positions and for whom abortion was a salient issue, abortion had a much stronger influence on candidate choice than any other issue, including the state of the economy.

(Revised December 01 1993)

(Received May 20 1994)

Alan I. Abramowitz is professor of political science, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.