Monday, August 08, 2005

Abstinence education

In the poll I just discussed, there's a question about abstinence and birth control education that I didn't discuss.

It's very interesting to look at the demographic breakdowns (PDF).

On most social questions, there's a substantial difference between views of Republicans and Democrats, between highly educated and less educated, region of the country and also between different religious groups.

On abortion, for instance, 23% of college grads favor overturning Roe v. Wade, while 40% of people with less than high school education favor overturning it. Southerners favor overturning by 36%, easterners by 21%.

Highly committed evangelicals favor overturning by 60%, high commitment white Catholics at 55%, 33% of white Protestants favor overturning, and only 19% of "seculars."

Only 22% of Democrats favor overturning while 42% of Republicans favor it (a minority of Republicans favor overturning Roe v. Wade, remember that), 25% of independents favor overturning.

Overall, 29% of the public favor overturning.

So, birth control is presented as a similar issue for social conservatives.

70% of people with less than a high school graduation favor teaching about birth control, while 85% of college grads favor it.

There's no real difference between regions.

59% of highly committed evangelicals favor teaching about birth control, 69% of highly committed white Catholics, 72% of white Protestants, and 95% of "seculars".

Rep/Dem/Ind are 68/84/83.

78% favor teaching about birth control, 76% favor teaching abstinence until marriage.

In short, a majority of people in every category favored teaching about birth control, and most demographic groupings were very consistent, and a comparable pattern holds for teaching abstinence until marriage.

Not that this is the only, or anywhere near the worst such policy, I'm forced to wonder why the President keeps pushing an unpopular and unsuccessful policy? Abstinence only programs don't reduce pregnancy or disease transmission, and increase rates of anal and oral sex. The only people who don't seem to understand that are the people in charge of federal education funding.