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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Republican establishment may boast that it beat back some Tea Party challengers in this week's primaries, but GOP candidates cannot hope to retake the Senate if they ignore the issue of abortion, a new Gallup poll indicates.

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One-quarter of Republican voters say a candidate must protect life to earn their vote, the polling company found.

Nearly one-in-five people (19 percent) say they would “only vote for a candidate who shares your views on abortion,” and pro-life voters are one-third more likely to feel that way than pro-abortion voters.

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Self-described “pro-choice” voters are much more likely to say they “don't see abortion as a major issue.”

“The pro-life side has more intensity on the issue,” Gallup reports of its most recent survey. In all, 11 percent of all registered voters said they would only vote for pro-life candidates, and eight percent said they would only vote for candidates who call themselves “pro-choice.”

Gallup said that voters whose motivating issue is protecting the unborn, or expanding access to abortion respectively, are “prime targets for party turnout efforts. While their impact could result in a draw on the abortion issue, it is a battle neither party can afford to ignore.”

Pro-life writers have been saying for some time that the dogged determination to avoid the issue is a political liability for Republican office-seekers.

Jill Stanek wrote, “To put it in politically expedient terms, the GOP establishment may not necessarily like the life issue, but they will never out-abortion the Democrats.”

“Do they really think growing more silent on the life issue is somehow going to help them win something?” she asked. “They are dithering with one of the few majorities they have left.”

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After the 2012 elections, pundit S.E. Cupp wrote a column encouraging the GOP to “talk more about abortion.”

Many believe his reticence to address abortion is one reason why Romney lost the presidency. The Massachusetts Republican's campaign addressed the issue only once on television, taking out an ad saying that “abortion should be an option.”

Overall, Americans remain split on the use of the labels “pro-life” (46 percent) vs. “pro-choice” (47 percent). The “pro-choice” label is rebounding from 2012, when a record low number of Americans called themselves “pro-choice.”

Half of Americans believe abortion should only be available under limited circumstances, while 21 percent believe it should be illegal in all circumstances and 28 percent saying it should be legal for any reason at any point in the pregnancy.

The poll was conducted May 8-11, questioning 1,028 adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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