Thursday, July 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Poll: Most Americans aren't following Gosnell trial

Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Story Highlights
  • A majority of Americans aren't following the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
  • A Gallup poll found that 25 percent of those surveyed were following the case "very" or "somewhat" closely.
  • Republicans, people with pro-life views and adults older than age 55 were most likely to be following the trial.

A majority of Americans aren't following the trial of a West Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of killing babies born during illegal late-term abortions, a new poll says.

The Gallup poll released this morning found that just 25 percent of those surveyed said they were following the case of Kermit Gosnell "very" or "somewhat" closely. Fifty-four percent of people said they weren't following the case at all.

Republicans, people with pro-life views and adults older than age 55 were most likely to be following the trial. And nearly half of those following the trial say there hasn't been enough news coverage of it.

"It is not clear from the data whether Americans' relatively low attention to the Gosnell case reflects a lack of interest in it, or a lack of coverage by the mainstream media," Gallup says. There has been controversy in the media about whether national news outlets have ignored the case, and whether the purported lack of coverage stemmed from pro-choice bias.

Of those following the case, 46 percent said the media has not devoted enough coverage to it. Twenty percent thought there was too much coverage and 27 percent said there was the right amount.

Among all adults surveyed, 21 percent said there hasn't been enough coverage and 9 percent said there was too much.

Gallup found that 33 percent of people who identified themselves as pro-life were following the case very or somewhat closely, compared with 19 percent of those who said they were pro-choice.

Significantly more Republicans than Independents or Democrats said they were monitoring the trial: Forty percent of Republicans said they were following it very or somewhat closely, compared with 22 percent of Independents and 17 percent of Democrats.

The age group most likely to be following the case was people older than 55. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed in that group said they were watching the case very or somewhat closely, compared with 25 percent of people between the ages of 35 and 54 and 15 percent of those aged 18 to 34. Among the 18-to-34 age group, 71 percent said they weren't following the trial at all.

The poll found no significant gender differences: Among men, 25 percent said they were following the case very or somewhat closely and 55 percent said they weren't following it all. For women, 26 percent were following the trial very or somewhat closely and 53 percent weren't following it at all.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury is now deliberating Gosnell's fate on four counts of first-degree murder. He also faces a count of third-degree murder in the death of abortion patient Karnamaya Mongar, as well as lesser charges that include conspiracy and violations of Pennsylvania abortion law.

The poll also found that the trial hasn't changed Americans' views on the legality of abortion. 

The Gallup survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,535 adults conducted between May 2 and May 7.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Emily Babay Philly.com staff
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