Exercise 8. Attitude on Abortion and the Presidential Vote

  1. Another example of a conditional relationship involves the relationship between attitude on abortion and the presidential vote. Obama and Romney disagreed on this issue, as Democrats and Republicans usually do, and we might hypothesize that this was an issue that would have influenced how people voted. Therefore, our hypothesis is that the more that the voter favored the legalization of abortion, the more likely the voter was to vote for Obama. To see if this is so, generate a two-variable table that examines the relationship between attitude on abortion (K01) and presidential vote (A02). To simplify the table, use the recoded version of A02 that excludes the minor party voters, as you have in previous exercises.

  2. The initial hypothesis that pro-abortion voters would be more likely to vote for Obama (and anti-abortion voters more likely to vote for Romney) assumes that voters would perceive the two presidential candidates as differing in the expected way on this issue. To examine how voters perceived the positions of the two candidates on this issue, examine the frequency distributions for K02 and K03.

  3. As you can see, not every voter saw Obama as pro-abortion and Romney as anti-abortion. This might lead us to hypothesize that the relationship between abortion attitude and the vote will be much stronger for voters who correctly saw the differences between the candidates on this issue. To test that hypothesis, you should generate a table with abortion attitude as the independent variable, presidential vote as the dependent variable, and two control variables (K02 and K03). To simplify the tables, recode K01, K02 and K03 so that they have just two categories — pro-abortion and anti-abortion.

  4. In this case, we find a very strong relationship between attitude on abortion and the vote for those who correctly perceived the differences between the candidates. But for those who did not correctly see the differences on this issue, the relationship is weaker — sometimes it is even in the opposite direction, with those opposed to abortion being more likely to vote for Obama. If you look at the findings carefully and think about them, the results should make sense.