Santorum Might Have Won If He'd Just Let Himself Go Gray

Democrats weren't the only big winners in last week's election. Abortion "grays" made gains too. "Grays" are what the Democratic think tank Third Way calls the mushy middle of the electorate when it comes to the thorny issue of abortion. Grays, who make up the majority of voters, think the procedure should be mostly legal or mostly illegal. (If you're not a "gray," according to Third Way, you're a "polar" who thinks abortion should always be legal or always be illegal.) Rachel Laser, a Third Way senior policy advisor, says that pro-life Democrats like Bob Casey--who unseated Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum--captured the gray vote and managed to neutralize a wedge issue that's hurt Democrats in the past. Laser studied CNN exit polling from Pennsylvania and found that Casey made inroads even among voters who said abortion should always be illegal--folks who'd usually be considered easy votes for incumbent Santorum, a staunch foe of abortion. Santorum captured 72 percent of these voters but Casey still picked up 28 percent. Among those who thought abortion should be mostly illegal, Santorum got 58 percent while Casey managed a respectable 41 percent. Casey played well with pro-choicers too, perhaps because he was seen as a more palatable choice than the outspokenly pro-life Santorum. Casey attracted the majority of voters who said abortion should be mostly legal (72 percent) and always legal (84 percent). When Laser lumped the two middle categories together to add up the grays, she found that Casey won 59 percent of them. He also won the election with 58.6 percent of the vote to Santorum's 41.3 percent. "Someone's got to be able to capture the middle," Laser said. This time, at least, Casey did just that.

Santorum Might Have Won If He'd Just Let Himself Go Gray | News