Politics

Many Unclear on Giuliani’s Social Issue Positions

More Republicans now than in January say he is pro-choice

PRINCETON, NJ -- The degree to which Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani’s positions on same-sex marriage and abortion will affect his chances of becoming the GOP presidential nominee has been a mainstay of political punditry ever since he announced his candidacy. Although the former New York City mayor has been attempting to qualify his positions on these issues in recent weeks, he has historically been seen as more liberal on abortion and same-sex marriage issues than the traditional Republican candidate. The conventional wisdom is that these issue positions could hurt Giuliani among conservative Republican voters in the primaries and caucuses, which begin in a little more than two months.

 

New USA Today/Gallup polling shows that most Republicans remain unaware of where Giuliani stands on these issues, although the perception that he is pro-choice on abortion has increased since January. Among those who do know Giuliani’s position on abortion, there is some evidence of a negative impact on likelihood of voting for him, thus suggesting that there is some potential effect if his positions become better known in the months ahead.

 

Knowledge of Giuliani’s Social Issue Positions

 

Seventy-four percent of Republicans say they are unsure whether Giuliani favors or opposes civil unions for same-sex couples. Despite more than 10 months of active campaigning and news coverage, that number is essentially the same as last January. Of those who do claim to know his position, more than twice as many correctly say he favors same-sex civil unions as incorrectly say he opposes them.

 

(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party) Based on what you have heard or read, does Rudy Giuliani favor or oppose civil unions for same-sex couples, or are you unsure?

               

 

Favors

Opposes

Unsure

No answer

2007 Oct 12-14

18%

7

74

*

 

 

 

 

 

2007 Jan 5-7

17%

8

75

*

* Less than 0.5%

 

Over half -- 55% -- of Republicans say they are not sure whether Giuliani is pro-choice or pro-life on abortion. This has changed only moderately since last January. At that time, 64% were unsure of Giuliani’s position on abortion. In January, Republicans who did venture a guess as to Giuliani’s position were roughly split on whether he was pro-choice or pro-life. Now, the clear majority of those with a view say Giuliani is pro-choice.

 

(Asked of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party) Based on what you have heard or read, on the issue of abortion, is Rudy Giuliani generally pro-life or pro-choice, or are you unsure?

               

 

Pro-life

Pro-choice

Unsure

No answer

2007 Oct 12-14

8

37

55

*

 

 

 

 

 

2007 Jan 5-7

16

20

64

--

* Less than 0.5%

 

(These basic data are based on the sample of those who initially say they identify as Republicans, and independents who say they lean to the Republican Party. However, an analysis of just those who are in the former group -- core Republicans -- shows their knowledge of Giuliani does not differ significantly from those who lean to the Republican Party.)

 

These findings could suggest that the impact of knowing Giuliani’s positions on the issues has not yet been realized, and that his candidacy could be hurt as conservative Republicans find out more about him in the months ahead.

 

The Oct. 12-14 poll included a question that helps address this possibility. The question asked Americans about the impact of various dimensions of Giuliani’s positions, history, and personal life on their likelihood of voting for him (see full results elsewhere in this article). One of those tested dimensions was “his views on abortion and gay rights.”

 

Do Giuliani’s views on abortion and gay rights …

 

2007 Oct 12-14

All Americans

Republicans (w/o leaners)

 

 

 

Make you more likely to vote for him

13

23

(Much more likely to vote for)

(5)

(8)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(8)

(15)

 

 

 

Make no difference

48

41

 

 

 

Make you more likely to vote against him

22

23

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(8)

(9)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(14)

(14)

 

 

 

No opinion

16

14

 

These data indicate that among the sample of all Americans, there is little sign of a major tilt one way or the other based on Giuliani’s position on abortion and gay rights. Similarly, there is no sign of a net positive or net negative impact of Giuliani’s values positions among Republicans. As many Republicans say in the abstract that his positions on these issues would make them more likely to vote for him as say his positions would make them less likely to vote for him.

 

Of course, as demonstrated here, many Republicans don’t know what his positions on these issues are.

To address that issue, the table below displays the responses to the general question about the impact of Giuliani’s values among Republicans who perceive that Giuliani is pro-choice, and among those who are unsure of his position on abortion (the sample sizes of Republicans who believe that Giuliani is pro-life are too small for meaningful analysis).

 

Responses to General Question Asking About Impact of Rudy Giuliani’s Views
on Abortion and Gay Rights on Your Likelihood of Voting for Him
by Perceptions of Giuliani’s Position on Abortion
Republicans only

 

More likely to vote for

No difference

More likely to vote against

Perception of Giuliani’s position on abortion

%

%

%

Giuliani is pro-life

^

^

^

Giuliani is pro-choice

21

36

41

Unsure of Giuliani’s position on abortion

15

47

18

^ Sample size too small for analysis

 

Based on these data, we can conclude that the belief that Giuliani is pro-choice could have at least some impact on his ability to attract Republican voters.

 

Keep in mind that the responses here represent the answer to a general question asking about the impact of Giuliani’s general positions on abortion and gay rights. We have crossed those by the categories of those who in response to a separate question said they believe that Giuliani is pro-choice, or that they were unsure of his position on abortion.

 

The data show that among that group of Republicans who perceive Giuliani to be pro-choice, the negative responses to the general impact question are at 41%, compared to 21% who respond positively. In other words, knowledge that Giuliani is pro-choice tilts the responses to this impact question toward the “more likely to vote against” category. The responses among the group who say they are unsure about Giuliani’s position are more even.

 

Implications

 

Despite consistent hypothesizing from pundits that Giuliani’s liberal social positions would sabotage his presidential campaign, he remains the GOP front-runner as of October. Additionally, his front-runner status is in place despite the modest increase in Republican awareness of his pro-choice position on abortion.

 

The results reviewed provide mixed evidence on the hypothesis that there will be an overwhelmingly negative response if more Republicans become aware of Giuliani’s positions on abortion and civil unions in the weeks ahead. In the abstract, as many Republicans say his positions on these issues will make them more likely to vote for him as say his positions will make them more likely to vote against him. But the response among the smaller group of Republicans who now say they believe he is pro-choice suggests that if this fact becomes better known, it could have the potential to hurt his vote-getting ability. Still, one out of five Republicans who say they are now aware of his liberal position on abortion say this makes them more likely to vote for him. It is also important to remember that the negative impact may be greater among more religious and conservative Republican voters in key primary states such as South Carolina, making firm conclusions on this point impossible even at this stage of the campaign.

 

Survey Methods

 

Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 24-27, 2007. Respondents were randomly drawn from Gallup’s nationally representative household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so it is representative of U.S. adults nationwide.

 

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

 

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

42. [ITEMS A-B READ FIRST IN ORDER, THEN ITEMS C-E ROTATED] -- make you more likely to vote for Rudy Giuliani for president, does it make no difference, or does it make you more likely to vote against Rudy Giuliani? [Is that much more likely to vote [for/against], or only somewhat more likely?]

 

2007 Oct 12-14
results based on national adults
(sorted by "more likely to vote for")

Total
 more likely
to vote for


No
difference

Total
more likely
to vote against

 

%

%

%

His leadership style

42

35

18

The way he responded to 9/11 as mayor of NYC

38

52

7

The way he handled other issues as mayor of NYC

31

46

15

His views on abortion and gay rights

13

48

22

His personal and family life

8

67

18

 

Full Results:

 

A. Does the way he responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as mayor of New York City …

               

2007 Oct 12-14

National adults

Registered voters

 

%

%

More likely to vote for

38

38

(Much more likely to vote for)

(20)

(20)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(18)

(18)

 

 

 

Makes no difference

52

53

 

 

 

More likely to vote against

7

7

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(1)

(1)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(6)

(6)

 

 

 

No opinion

3

2

 

  B. Does the way he handled other issues as mayor of New York City …

               

2007 Oct 12-14

National adults

Registered voters

 

%

%

More likely to vote for

31

31

(Much more likely to vote for)

(15)

(15)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(16)

(16)

 

 

 

Makes no difference

46

47

 

 

 

More likely to vote against

15

15

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(6)

(7)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(9)

(8)

 

 

 

No opinion

7

7

 

C. Do his views on abortion and gay rights …

 

2007 Oct 12-14

National adults

Registered voters

 

%

%

More likely to vote for

13

15

(Much more likely to vote for)

(5)

(6)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(8)

(9)

 

 

 

Makes no difference

48

49

 

 

 

More likely to vote against

22

21

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(8)

(7)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(14)

(14)

 

 

 

No opinion

16

16

 

D. Does his personal and family life …

 

2007 Oct 12-14

National adults

Registered voters

 

%

%

More likely to vote for

8

6

(Much more likely to vote for)

(3)

(2)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(5)

(4)

 

 

 

Makes no difference

67

68

 

 

 

More likely to vote against

18

19

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(10)

(11)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(8)

(8)

 

 

 

No opinion

7

6

 

E. Does his leadership style …

 

2007 Oct 12-14

National adults

Registered voters

 

%

%

More likely to vote for

42

41

(Much more likely to vote for)

(19)

(19)

(Somewhat more likely to vote for)

(23)

(22)

 

 

 

Makes no difference

35

35

 

 

 

More likely to vote against

18

19

(Somewhat more likely to vote against)

(7)

(8)

(Much more likely to vote against)

(11)

(11)

 

 

 

No opinion

6

5

 

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