Abortion and the Presidential Election of 1976: A Multivariate Analysis of Voting Behavior

Despite the widespread public interest in the role of the abortion controversy in American politics today, no one has attempted to analyze systematically its impact on the electorate. Some national opinion surveys have asked voters whether or not they would be influenced by a candidate’s position on abortion, but they have not attempted to ascertain its relative importance, compared to other considerations, in the final deliberations of the electorate. In an effort to provide a more systematic study of the role of abortion in American politics today, this Article analyzes the campaign to elect the President of the United States in 1976. In particular, it studies the coverage of abortion by the news media, its importance in public opinion polls taken during the campaign, and its relative impact on voters on November 2, 1976, using multivariate analysis and survey research data.