The Pro-Choice Republican's Political Right to Life
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Abortion has evolved into a highly partisan issue that now defines both the Republican and Democratic parties. Though it remains a salient political issue, it is unclear how abortion affects vote choice in contemporary elections. This thesis examines the relationship between state legislative candidates’ abortion positions and their electoral outcomes. Specifically, it examines whether candidates who deviate from their national political party’s abortion position – pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Democrats – have better or worse electoral outcomes than those who do not. Using data from the 2012 and 2014 National Candidate Studies (n = 1,907; 1,869), I constructed a series of multiple logistic regression models to determine how candidates’ abortion beliefs impacted their electoral outcomes at both the primary and general election levels for those years. I also interviewed a number of relevant political actors in order to better understand and contextualize my quantitative analysis. Though the regression results were somewhat inconsistent, my findings indicated that abortion does have some effect on vote choice, particularly at the primary level. These results suggest that candidates who deviate from their national party’s abortion position are somewhat less likely to be elected.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
CitationBender, Sarah (2016). The Pro-Choice Republican's Political Right to Life. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11577.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers