Poll: Growing Majority of Americans Support Legal Abortion

(CN) – A growing majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade due in part to a broadening consensus on abortion rights among Democrats and less agreement among Republicans, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday. 

In a survey of 4,175 American adults conducted between July 22 and Aug. 4, researchers found that 70% are opposed to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and 28% are in favor of reversing the landmark 1973 ruling that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion. 

Data on this question was virtually identical to information gleaned from 2016 poll, in which 69% opposed and 28% supported overturning the ruling, but support for preserving Roe v. Wade has risen 10% since 1992. 

The data suggests that growing support for abortion rights can be primarily attributed to Democrats. In 2007, 63% of Democratic Americans said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. In the latest survey, 82% of Democratic survey respondents said they support abortion rights.

Republican respondents’ support for abortion rights fell three points since 2007 from 39% to 36%, but the data revealed significant disagreements between different ideological factions. Overall, 62% of Republican respondents believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. A more substantial majority (77%) of conservative Republicans oppose abortion, but 57% of moderate Republicans support abortion rights protections.

Respondents’ views on the difficulty of getting an abortion aligned with their views on the legality of abortion. For example, 65% of Republicans feel that it is too easy to get an abortion. Eighty-three percent of those who believe abortion should be illegal also think that it is too easy to get an abortion. 

Meanwhile, 83% of Democrats believe that states are making it too difficult to get an abortion, and 88% who think abortion rights should be preserved believe that it is too difficult to seek abortion services.

One factor that has shifted respondents views slightly is whether or not they knew someone who has received an abortion procedure. Overall, 57% of respondents said they knew someone who had an abortion. The only demographic that did not reach a majority on this question was respondents between 18 and 29 years old at 48%.

The data suggests that if an individual knows someone who has had an abortion, they are more likely to support legal abortion rights. Thirty-five percent of Republicans who did not know someone who had an abortion support legal abortion rights, but 38% of Republicans who do know someone support abortion rights protections. Similarly, 78% of Democrats who do not know someone who had an abortion and 85% of Democrats who did know someone who had the procedure support legal abortion rights.  

Partisan divisions have typified recent polling data, but support and opposition for abortion rights also varies based on demographics — especially  religious demographics. 

Researchers stratified respondents by sex, age, education level and religious affiliations. The data revealed that a majoritiy of individuals in every non-partisan demographic group – with the expection of white evangelical protestants – support legal abortion rights.

Most demographics were close to the average (61% supporting legal abortion and 38% opposed), but 77% of white evangelicals believe that abortion should be illegal.

A majority of white mainline Protestants (60%) and black Protestants (64%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 56% of Catholics believe abortion should be legal.

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