Survey gets reaction to Howard’s abortion stance
A YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph shows that most people, including a large majority of women, agree with Michael Howard that the 24-week time limit on legal abortions should be cut back.
And while the vast majority of respondents said that abortion would not affect the way they vote 13% said they would be “more likely to vote Conservative” as against 9% saying they would be less likely.
So if YouGov have got this right the abortion issue could produce a crucial margin of upto 4%.
But there could be a danger of making this an election issue because only 28% thought it was an appropriate subject for debate between the parties as opposed to 57% saying that this should be a matter for the individual consciences of MPs.
The paper commissioned the pollster to ask the question after Howard told Cosmopolitan magazine that the upper limit for legal terminations should be reduced to 22 or 20 weeks. By contrast, Tony Blair, whose wife is a Roman Catholic, said abortion was a “difficult issue”, but he would not change the law.
The poll also shows that 55 per cent of voters of both sexes would welcome new laws reducing the time limit. Of those, six per cent want it reduced to 22 weeks, 18 per cent to 20 weeks, 19 per cent to less than 20 weeks, and 12 per cent want abortion abolished except in a medical emergency.
These questions were part of the survey on the budget which the paper published yesterday. Frustratingly there is no indication whether those questioned were asked about their party choice and what the outcome was. Under the new rules governing opinion polls this will have to be published but not until early next week.
GENERAL ELECTION BETTING. The balance of the money being wagered on the spread markets is that Tony Blair is heading for an overall majority of 57 seats.
IG Index – LAB 350-355: CON 199-204: LD 68-71.
Spreadfair – LAB 350 -351.8: CON 200-201.2 : LD 68.7 -69
Â© Mike Smithson 2005