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In Hard Swing Right, GOP Candidates for Lieutenant Governor Could Leave Voters Behind

by: Genevieve Cato

Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:00 AM CST

Could the Lieutenant Governor candidates' positions on abortion - which all four reaffirmed in Monday's debate - be too extreme even for their primary voters? This is the question asked by the Texas Tribune based on polling that suggests even Tea Party Republicans support exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

In a campaign season already defined by issues of reproductive justice access, and in which the two Democratic options are women who were at the heart of this summer's filibuster, have the Republican candidates pushed their positions - and their luck - too far?

More on how abortion could play against the Republican party this November below the jump.

The Tribune found that over forty percent of Republicans polled supported the exact exceptions that the candidates so roundly rejected in Monday's debate. The debate, which was the first forum with all candidates to be broadcast across the state, was the first opportunity for the candidates to define themselves to all Texans.

The poll, which took place only four months ago, found that only 16% of Republicans support total bans on abortion. This number is low for this metric. Usually, the numbers come back in the low twenties. Could this show flagging support of these extremist positions? And, will that be enough to top the scale in Democrat's favor in 2014? If the candidates are truly pushing past the far right of their party, it could be possible. According to the Tribune:

The belief that pregnant rape victims should be required to bring their pregnancies to term, evident on the debate stage, seems to be more about positioning in the Republican primary than a careful reading of public opinion. And while the Tea Party remains the easy scapegoat for the GOP's rightward push, in this case at least, our polling shows that only 13 percent of Tea Party Republicans support a complete prohibition on the procedure.

Seventy-eight percent of Republicans agree with at least some exceptions to a full ban on abortion procedures, and it is clear after Monday's debate that these candidates don't represent the views of those voters. Whether this will be significant enough to turn voters off from the Republican party in November remains to be seen.  

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