By more than 2 to 1, Republicans believe their party’s platform should not specifically support a constitutional amendment banning abortion, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.
But illustrating the political quandary facing Bob Dole, the poll found that the Republicans who care most about the abortion issue are also among those most committed to the existing plank.
The poll was conducted between May 31 and June 3, before Dole attempted to bridge his party’s abortion divide Thursday. Dole announced that he favored keeping the current abortion plank while adding to the platform a “declaration of tolerance” for different points of view.
According to the poll, 27 percent of Republicans support keeping the constitutional ban in the platform, while 66 percent oppose it.
The plank says: “We believe the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution.”
Voters were also asked under what conditions they would permit abortion, a question put to only half the survey’s respondents.
Thirty-six percent said abortion should be “generally available,” while 37 percent said it should be against the law except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. Eighteen percent said abortion should be available, but under stricter limits than exist now.
The poll was conducted nationally by telephone among a random sample of 1,200 adults. Its sampling error could be plus or minus three points.