As you all know, the midterms were not what many Granite State conservatives had hoped for. In the coming days, you will hear some in the New Hampshire GOP establishment lay these midterm setbacks at the feet of pro-lifers.
When you do, ask them this one simple question.
Every single poll, without exception, has shown that—when Granite Staters are actually asked to specify their position on abortion—the Democrats’ position of unlimited abortion-up-to-birth is highly unpopular.
While New Hampshire voters strongly reject both extremes on abortion, when they are asked specific questions by pollsters, they look favorably on moderate restrictions.
Given this indisputable fact, how can the GOP deny that the midterm losses were the result—not of our six-month law itself—but of Republicans’ near-total refusal to message and communicate on the law and on the Democrats’ extremism?
As the midterm defeats unfolded, the New Hampshire Journal moved quickly and relentlessly to frame the electoral losses as the fault of pro-lifers, citing numerous unspecified sources to that effect.
Yet the New Hampshire Journal’s very own polling, conducted with Praecones Analytica, showed that 62.2% of Granite Staters either support a six-month ban on abortion or favor a more restrictive abortion ban.
Of course, some establishment Republicans will present a straw man version of what Cornerstone is saying. They will claim we believe that the GOP should have pushed for more aggressive abortion laws.
But anyone who paid attention to anything that Cornerstone said during this election can tell you that this is not true.
The central problem is that, while New Hampshire voters reject both extremes on abortion, only one side focused on framing their opponents as extremists on the issue.
Republicans could have successfully sold themselves as moderates by attacking Democrats’ fanatical support for nine-month elective abortion. Instead, large Republican PACs and campaigns played ostrich, pretending that Democrats’ abortion ads did not exist and hoping that voters wouldn’t see them.
Cornerstone and other pro-lifers warned of this week’s outcome. We urged Republicans to adopt a moderate but proactive strategy supported by the data and our knowledge of the state’s abortion politics. But instead of listening to our advice, many Republicans followed a failed class of GOP consultants and “strategists.”
To those Republicans who are unconvinced of our analysis, consider a final question. Pro-lifers may have been the only conservative group in New Hampshire who continually cautioned that a red wave might not materialize. In contrast, so-called GOP strategists and out-of-state consultants assured you of the coming red wave until Tuesday night.
What are the chances that the very people who accurately warned you of the problem are now wrong in their analysis of what occurred, while those who entirely failed to anticipate the problem are suddenly correct?
“If you are explaining the abortion law, you are losing,” the consultants told New Hampshire Republicans. These consultants got their way. Many Granite Staters went to the polls believing that all or most abortion in New Hampshire is banned. Even more voted without knowing that the Democrats’ unanimous position is also unpopular and extreme.
In contrast, the Democrats’ consultants evidently gave their candidates, campaigns, and PACs much sounder advice: the side that is allowed to frame the issue will win. The side that silently acquiesces to that framing will lose.