ND ReSource: Pro-life Democrats are gaining, but still in minority

Author: Dennis Brown


Several high-profile races in the upcoming mid-term elections feature pro-life Democrats who are mounting more than respectable challenges to Republican incumbents.

In thePennsylvaniasenatorial race, Democrat Bob Casey is leading by double digits over the Republican incumbent, Rick Santorum. Another pro-life Democrat, Col. Mike Weaver, is giving Rep. Ron Lewis ofKentuckya battle. And, in north-centralIndiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly is neck-and-neck with Rep. Chris Chocola.

It may appear that a pro-life strategy is taking hold among Democrats. But University of Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell says not so fast.

I would hesitate to call the rise of the pro-life Democrat a trend, especially since Casey’s situation is quite unusual, and it is hard to generalize from the other examples,Campbellsaid.Casey’s name recognition (his father, the late Robert Casey, was a popular governor) is almost as high as a Kennedy inMassachusetts, while the other examples are drops in a large bucket.

Campbelladded:While this is not widely reported, Democratic party activists are far more pro-choice than Republican activists are pro-life, which suggests thatthe prospects for a pro-life Democratic candidate at, say, the presidential level are slim.

That said, however,Campbellpointed out that leading Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hilary Clinton has beentalking about the need for Democrats to take a more moderate position – looking for ways to reduce the need for abortion.

_ Contact: David Campbells comments may be used in whole or in part, and he can be reached for further election analysis at 574-631-7809 or Dave_Campbell@nd.edu

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