A majority of U.S. adults say they believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases and would also favor a federal law passed by Congress to protect access to abortions nationwide, accordion to new survey data from AP-NORC.
The new poll comes just a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and shows that American attitudes on abortion were largely unaffected by the decision.
Democrats are more supportive of abortion by a wide margin compared to Republicans. An 87 percent majority of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while only 38 percent of Republicans agree. People unaffiliated with either political party were not included in the poll.
The survey also found that people living in states with more restrictive abortion laws are more likely to support abortion bans than individuals living in less restrictive states.
“Fifty-eight percent of those living in states with the most restrictive abortion laws people say abortion should be allowed at six weeks along with more than 7-in-10 people in the rest of the country,” AP-NORC found. “At 15 weeks, 59 percent of those living in the least restrictive states say it should be legal compared with about 4-in-10 people in more restrictive states. Only 31 percent of people living in states where abortion is broadly available say the procedure should be legal at 24 weeks as well as about one in four residents of states with at least some restrictions.”
While abortion has always been a wedge issue, it turned out to be a major factor in the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections, elevating Democrats and hurting Republicans (who worked for decades to reverse Roe v. Wade) across the U.S.
Polling data released last month shows that state efforts to restrict abortion have made some Americans more supportive of abortion rights.
Headed into the 2024 election cycle, Democrats are reportedly looking to make abortion a key part of the party’s platform to “re-create and supercharge their successes” from the midterms, as The Atlantic explained.
Yasmin Radjy, the executive director of the progressive political group Swing Left, told the publication the party wants all elected officials, even state auditors, to talk about abortion, adding, “If we can do all that, we’re gonna be telling the same story in December 2024 that we told in 2022.”
Yet, even considering the possibility that backing abortion restrictions could cost them election wins, some conservatives whose opposition to abortion is a key part of their messaging are doubling down on promises to work to keep the procedure illegal.
Former Vice-President Mike Pence, who is vying for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, said in a recent interview that he supports abortion bans even when a pregnancy isn’t viable.
“I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it,” Pence said in the interview. “I want to always err on the side of life. I would hold that view in these matters because … I honestly believe that we got this extraordinary opportunity in the country today to restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”