The Blog

Can Barbara Boxer Succeed Where Martha Coakley, Jon Corzine, and Creigh Deeds Failed?

Abortion hasn't been a winning issue lately for Blue State Dems.

1:32 PM, Jul 23, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

"Fiorina faces challenge on abortion," reports Politico:

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is drawing almost the same support from California voters as incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to recent polls.

Fiorina’s position on abortion? Not so much.

A full 71 percent of Californians favor either keeping the state’s liberal abortion laws intact or making abortion easier to obtain, according to new data from the Field Poll. The same percentage said they support the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

That’s a potential obstacle for Fiorina as she attempts to become the first anti-abortion candidate to win a California race at the top of the ticket since 1986.

This piece misses a couple of points. First, via Red State, the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the same poll shows that "30 percent [of voters] were more likely to vote for a candidate who opposed abortion rights, 37 percent were less likely and 33 percent thought it made no difference." Is Barbara Boxer really going to make up much ground on an issue where her real advantage is 37% to 30%?

Second, other Democrats who have tried to make abortion an issue haven't fared too well lately.

NJ.com: "Gov. Jon Corzine argues Chris Christie is out of step with N.J. voters' values"

By highlighting Christie's stance on abortion -- he opposes it, while Corzine favors abortion rights -- the governor followed a path that has become familiar in statewide races: show the Republican to be "outside the mainstream" of a mostly blue state.

Result: Republican Chris Christie wins 49% to 44%.

Washington Post: "Deeds Throws Abortion Gauntlet"

Surrounded by female activists and lawmakers, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds on Monday launched an assault on his opponent's record of working to restrict abortions, calling it evidence that the Republican has the wrong priorities for the state.

Result: Republican Bob McDonnell wins 59% to 41%.

Boston Globe: "Abortion takes stage in Senate race"

With the special US Senate election less than a week away, abortion reemerged as a major flashpoint yesterday as Martha Coakley’s campaign sent out several activists to champion the Democrat as a defender of women’s rights and Republican Scott Brown called on his two daughters to respond.

Result: Republican Scott Brown wins 52% to 47%.

And, lastly, when you get beyond the pro-choice/pro-life labels, I'm not so sure that Boxer's position on abortion is more popular than Fiorina's. As George Will writes in Newsweek:

Fiorina’s right-to-life stance may not matter much this year because economic anxieties have largely eclipsed other issues. Besides, it is theoretically impossible to fashion an abortion position significantly more extreme than Boxer’s, which is slightly modified infanticide. She supports “partial birth” abortion—the baby, delivered feet first, is pulled out as far as the neck, then is killed. And when asked during a Senate debate whether the baby has a right to life if it slips entirely out of the birth canal before being killed, she replied that the baby acquires that right when it leaves the hospital: “When you bring your baby home.” Fiorina believes that science—the astonishing clarity of sonograms showing the moving fingers and beating hearts of fetuses; neonatal medicine improving the viability of very premature infants; the increasing abilities of medicine to treat ailing fetuses in utero—is changing Americans’ sensibilities and enlarging the portion of the public that describes itself as pro-life.

Throw in the fact that Boxer also voted for subsidized Obamacare insurance plans to cover elective abortions--nationally, voters oppose that 61% to 35%--and it's hard to see how the issue of abortion saves Barbara Boxer in California.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers