A new Gallup survey out today finds the percentage of Americans who identify them selves as supporting legalized abortion has dropped to a record low.
“The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009,” the polling firm noted. On the other hand, 51 percent of Americans call themselves pro-life, one percentage point away from the record high.
The percentage of Americans identifying themselves as pro-life has trended higher since 1995, when the partial-birth abortion debate began in earnest and ultrasound technology made it so pictures of unborn children were the first baby pictures most parents saw. Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today and the number of pro-abortion Americans has steadily dropped.
Gallup says the decline in Americans’ self-identification as “pro-choice” is seen across the three U.S. political groups — with Republicans increasingly becoming pro-life.
“Since 2001, the majority of Republicans have consistently taken the pro-life position, but by a gradually increasing margin over “pro-choice.” That gap expanded further this year, with the percentage of Republicans identifying as pro-life increasing to 72% from 68% last May, and those identifying as pro-choice dropping to 22% from 28%,” Gallup noted.
Independent voters are also trending pro-life, with Gallup pointing out that the percentage of political independents identifying as pro-choice is 10 points lower today than in May 2011, while the percentage pro-life is up by six points. As a result, pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among this important swing political group for only the second time since 2001, with the first occurring in 2009.
Even Democrats, who support abortion, are trending in the pro-life direction, according to the survey.
“Democrats’ views on abortion have changed the least over the past 12 years, with roughly 60% calling themselves pro-choice and about a third pro-life. Democrats’ identification as pro-choice was above this range in May 2011, but has returned to about 60% in the current poll,” Gallup noted.
The polling firm also found just 20 percent of Americans believe all abortions should be legal — the position of President Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood.
Gallup points out the polling sample has nothing to do with skewing results in a pro-life direction — providing more evidence that this shift in the pro-life direction is substantive.
“The shift in abortion views over the past year is not due to a change in the political composition of the samples. In the May 2-6, 2012, Values and Beliefs poll, 47% of respondents are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 41% are Republican or lean Republican. This is similar to the partisan composition of the May and July 2011 surveys, which showed a close division between pro-life and pro-choice Americans,” it said.
Gallup asked other questions and found Americans still consider abortion morally wrong. Half of Americans, 51%, consider abortion morally wrong and 38% say it is morally acceptable — nearly identical to the results in May 2011.
The polling company says there is a “clear shift” to the pro-life side on abortion.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
“Since 2009, Americans have been closely divided in their identification with the labels most commonly used by each side of the abortion debate, although twice in that time period, including today, the percentage identifying as pro-life has been significantly higher than the pro-choice percentage. This represents a clear shift from 2001 to 2008, when Gallup most often found pro-choice adherents in the plurality,” it says.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 3-6, 2012 with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.