Tim Graham, Brad Wilmouth: MSNBC’s Chuck Todd only cites polls suggesting public support for abortion

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On Wednesday's “Meet the Press Daily,” MSNBC host Chuck Todd cited two polls suggesting the public was mostly supportive of abortion.

By contrast, a couple of days earlier when Steve Kornacki was fill-in host for the same show, he was more accurate in admitting that polling can also be found that suggests most Americans oppose abortion.

Todd’s panel discussed the law recently passed in Alabama that makes abortion illegal throughout a pregnancy without making exceptions for rape or incest.


NBC correspondent Heidi Przybyla argued “This is the most extreme bill yet to pass,” and that without exceptions for hard cases, the Alabama law would make it easier for Democrats "to paint the Republicans as being the harsh extremists in this situation. And the polling bears that out, too."

Then Todd jumped in with polling results: "Let me put it on the screen here. From the midterm, we have a few different ways I want to put it up here." He then showed an NBC News exit poll from November 2018 finding that 66 percent indicated they wish to keep the Roe v. Wade decision, and only 25 percent picked “overturn it.”

But as National Review noted last summer:

“A Pew Research Center poll taken in 2013 found that only 62 percent of respondents were aware that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion. Seventeen percent thought Roe v. Wade dealt with some other public-policy issue and 20 percent were unfamiliar with the decision. Furthermore, even many who realize Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion fail to understand the full implications of the decision. Many wrongly think that overturning Roe v. Wade would result in a national ban on abortion, instead, a reversal of Roe would return the issue to the states.”

Todd also displayed a poll from the liberal Public Religion Research Institute -- he wrongly suggested it came from "Pew" -- from September 2018 suggesting that 59 percent of respondents want abortion to be legal in either most or all cases, compared to 37 percent wanting it mostly or completely illegal. Todd then commented that "This is not a 50-50 issue."

Could that poll be skewed? PRRI is run by a man named Robert Jones, whose latest book is delighting the left by predicting “The End of White Christian America” (hailed in blurbs by Joy Reid, Joan Walsh, and Michael Eric Dyson.)

As usual, MSNBC didn't discuss the **other** extreme on abortion, as represented by the bill signed by liberal New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, which would allow an abortion at any time in pregnancy without any meaningful restrictions.

By contrast, on Monday's show, as Kornacki moderated a discussion, he recalled:

“One thing I always think about this issue, when we talk about the politics of it, is the polling on this is very hard to pin down. I was looking before the show. I could find a poll, if you're on the pro-choice side, you could point to and say, 'Hey, America is with me.' I can find a poll if you're on the pro-life side, you could do the exact same thing with.” There are “conflicting attitudes.”


We at NewsBusters have previously pointed out that, in spite of other polling suggesting most Americans support Roe v. Wade, a Marist poll found an overwhelming majority support regulations on abortion that would require overturning Roe v. Wade to enact.

Kornacki also has a history of debunking the myth often pushed by others on his network and also on CNN that 97 percent of Americans support requiring "universal background checks" to include all gun sales, including private sales by individuals, when, in fact, voters have failed to deliver such a high percentage in any of the three states where ballot initiatives have been held.

Brad Wilmouth is a contributor to NewsBusters and a former media analyst for the Media Research Center.