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A new national survey, by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds that a dwindling number of Americans express support for abortion. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents. Now, Americans are evenly split on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them more difficult to obtain.
The new poll, conducted from Aug. 11-27, reveals less support for abortion among most demographic and political groups. The survey also finds that the abortion debate has decreased in importance, especially among liberals. At the same time, opposition to abortion has grown more solid among conservatives. The timing of this shift in attitudes on abortion suggests it could be connected to President Barack Obama’s election.
The decline in support for legal abortion first appeared in polls in the spring of 2009. Overall, roughly three-in-ten (29 percent) think Obama will handle the abortion issue “about right” as president. One-in-five Americans (19 percent) worry that Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights, while very few (4 percent) express the opposite concern, that Obama will not go far enough to support abortion rights. Concern about Obama’s handling of abortion is especially evident on the right; fully half of conservative Republicans (52 percent) worry that Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights. However, nearly one-in-five political independents (18 percent) also worry that Obama will go too far in support of abortion rights.
Here are some interesting findings from the report:
- One of the largest declines in support for legal abortion has occurred among white, non-Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly. Substantial change has also occurred among Democratic men (with support for legal abortion down nine points) but not among Democratic women.
- Even as the public expresses support for finding a middle ground on abortion, most Americans are quite certain that their own position on abortion is the right one, with only 25 percent saying they ever wonder about their views on the issue.
- Many people on both sides of the abortion question say that the opposite point of view on abortion is not a “respectable” opinion for someone to hold.
- Overall, roughly three-in-ten Americans think that President Obama will handle the abortion issue about right, while four-in-ten are unaware of his position on the issue. About two-in-ten worry that Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights.
This latest poll is another in a series of polls that indicate Americans’ attitudes are changing when it comes to saving innocent, pre-born children and protecting their mothers from the effects of abortion. More and more people are coming to understand that abortion destroys the life of a pre-born child. Practically speaking, an ultrasound does not lie. Pre-born babies are human beings, even at the earliest stages of a pregnancy, and they deserve the right to life, even in the most difficult of circumstances. There are other choices.
IFI is encouraged by this latest poll. Please check our website often for dependable research, and for the latest news and information as we promote and protect the values we share.