- - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

After watching the Dow take its worst tumble since 2011, we will no doubt see GOP presidential candidates pivot to a heavy emphasis on economic matters. And even without this week’s market plunge the economy is usually on top of voters’ priority lists.

But before the hit to the stock market, the nation has been served weeks of macabre videos laying out Planned Parenthood’s bloodthirsty lust for dismembering babies to peddle their remains for profits. All the while displaying the chilling precision and emotional detachment of the stone-cold killers they are.

Instead of hammering our collective pocket book, these videos highlighted the corroded state of our civic soul. There is no way Election 2016 won’t reflect that, so candidates would be fools to disregard what the data points out—not only is it morally and ethically upright to fight against our nation’s growing rot, but it is also a winner with various political constituencies.

Recent pro-life polling conducted by Adam B. Schaeffer, Ph.D., director of research and co-founder of Evolving Strategies, says that just one Texas gubernatorial ad highlighting “Abortion Barbie” Wendy Davis’ support for a baby killing spree had a profound impact on the 2014 electorate. It shifted Democratic-leaning women by 10 points last year away from Ms. Davis and toward current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and that’s not all. Voters ages 18-34 shifted to Mr. Abbott by 8 points, and Hispanic voters shifted by about 13 net points to Mr. Abbott.

Imagine that, women, younger voters and Hispanics – or what the GOP consultant class refers to as “the trinity” – all persuaded and moved by one issue and one magic commercial. Wish you could bottle that? Well, turns out you can, Mr. Schaeffer said.

The Abbott/Davis race was a perfect Petri dish for testing pro-life messaging, because it occurred in an atmosphere where an aggressive pro-killing hand will be played by an opposition that always pivots to wedge issues when it’s in trouble (“war on women” ring a bell?).

Instead of using observational data gleaned from poll respondents, Mr. Schaeffer and company conducted a randomized-controlled experiment to test three possible pro-life ads to confront Ms. Davis with.

Mr. Schaeffer’s explanation for his methodology is worth quoting in full:

“I want to belabor this point – we didn’t ask voters what they thought of the ads, which is what standard message testing does. People are terrible at introspection and self-prediction. Rather, we observed how the ad influenced their likelihood of supporting Abbott or Davis compared to the placebo-control group. We ran a randomized-controlled experiment, just like a blind clinical drug trial.”

The results of such an approach have not only produced the results I already mentioned in Texas, but those results have now been replicated in five other states. Experimental data about pro-life messaging is being effectively used to model the positive impact of ads on vote probabilities.

Now combine that data with what we already know about the importance of the Catholic vote and things look even brighter. Aggressive pro-life messaging stands to impact perhaps the single-greatest measuring stick of modern day presidential elections.

According to a Georgetown University study, prior to Roe v. Wade the Democrats won the majority of the Catholic vote in six of the seven previous presidential elections. It was one of their most loyal voting blocs. But since Roe v. Wade, the Republicans have won the Catholic vote four times. Only once since then, the “hanging chad” election of 2000, have Republicans managed to win the White House without winning the Catholic vote.

Even though Barack Obama won that battle in 2012, things were already trending in the GOP’s favor at that point. A 2012 study by the Pew Foundation revealed, according to Anne Hendershott with Catholic World Report, that among white Catholics under age 30 the support for the GOP increased from 41 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2011.

Keep talking Pew, because there’s a lot more where that came from. In the fall of 2014, 53 percent of white Catholics identified with or leaned toward the Republican Party, compared to 2008 when only 41 percent did so and 49 percent in 2011. And according to the same 2014 data, Hispanic Catholics are more inclined than white Catholics by 10 percentage points to say abortion should be illegal.

Furthermore, the Catholic New Agency reported that even though Catholics narrowly sided with Mr. Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012, Catholic women polled just before that election were the most likely group of poll respondents to say that abortion should be illegal in all cases. And they are more than twice as likely as men to choose it as their primary voting consideration.

Yet another 2014 Pew study said 79 percent of all Catholics would “definitely vote” in the midterm elections held that year. That was up 11 percentage points from four years earlier, and we’re not even talking about choosing a president in those cases. Catholics are clearly motivated to get out and vote, and if they are given a clear and compelling message that reflects their faith and their values, they would easily usher a Republican revolution worth having into the White House.

All the constituencies highlighted by the Texas experiment could play a significant role in tipping the Catholic vote toward a Republican victory in 2016. It’s simply up to the candidates if they have the courage of conviction to get onboard with the pro-life cause, because the data is there to affirm their choice.

So bring on the Iowa caucuses, and make sure they are preceded by unapologetic messaging that says we will prosecute and hold the Planned Parenthood butchers accountable for their crimes. For too long we’ve allowed these ghouls to put their boot to the throats of our own innocent children.
It is now time to elect a president who will use the Justice Department to give them a taste of their own rancid medicine and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

(Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and also the author of the book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)

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