Citizens for Life Clarifies Methodology of Recent Poll

Press Release

February 15, 2019

Citizens for Life Clarifies Methodology of Recent Poll

93% of Rhode Islanders believe abortion should not be top priority for lawmakers, 69% oppose late-term abortions legalized by RHCA

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – Citizens for Life released additional data from the poll they conducted earlier this week showing that Rhode Islanders opposed partial birth and late term abortions, both of which would be permitted under the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) currently pending before the General Assembly. While RHCA supporters have tried to discredit the poll, it is clear Rhode Islanders reject their extreme position.

“Rhode Islanders, like Americans, do not want to legalize the abortion of a viable baby that could survive and even thrive outside the womb,” said Citizens for Life organizer Carey Jeffrey. “Whether we looked at Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, the data was clear - this bill is too extreme for average Rhode Islanders.”

While the debate around abortion focuses on a pro-life/pro-choice binary, Rhode Islanders hold nuanced opinions about the issue. Only 12% believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, and only 22% believe in should always be legal. Late term abortions, which would be legal under the RHCA, are opposed by 69% of voters, including 59% of Democrats. Only 7% of voters think the General Assembly should make abortion legislation their top priority. According to the poll, Rhode Islanders want lawmakers to prioritize education, the economy, infrastructure, and eliminating public corruption.

Cygnal Research conducted the poll, which surveyed 700 Rhode Island voters. In 2018, New York Times’ polling expert Nate Cohn rated Cygnal the most accurate firm during the runup to the midterm elections. In contrast, the UNH Survey Center, which conducted the poll cited by RHCA supporters, was rated as the second-least accurate pollster by data guru Nate Silver. Silver described UNH’s survey research as “simply way off the mark.” Yet abortion extremists continue to cite the UNH poll, though there was only one question about abortion, which did not explain what type of abortion was being surveyed.

“We earned the mantle of ‘most reliable polling firm in the nation’ by fielding reliable surveys,” said Matt Hubbard, Cygnal’s Vice President of Research and Analytics. “As with all our surveys, we followed best practices such as rotating responses and presenting the questions to respondents in the way legislators are considering the bill.”

In the spirit of transparency, the poll’s crosstabs have been included with this release and will be available on the Citizens for Life website.

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