Poll Claims Most Americans Want Abortion Legal, But Results Skewed

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll Claims Most Americans Want Abortion Legal, But Results Skewed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 19,

Quinnipiac, NY (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in New York finds most Americans want most or all abortions to remain legal and favor the Roe v. Wade decision. However, the results are quite skewed compared with most polling data showing a majority of Americans take a pro-life position.

Quinnipiac conducted interviews with 1,545 registered American voters from August 7 to 13 and found 57 percent want abortions to be legal in all or most cases.

Another 37 percent want abortions illegal in all or most cases.

However, the poll does not specify when abortions are done and explain that less than two percent, according to the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Alan Guttmacher Institute, are done because of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life.

When asked for more specific instances when they support or oppose abortion, polls show a majority of Americans oppose most abortions.

An April 2006 Polling Company survey found 54 percent took one of three pro-life positions opposing either all abortions, al abortions except those to save the life of the mother, or all abortions except cases involving the life of the mother, rape or incest.

Just 41 percent took one of three pro-abortion positions allowing all or most abortions.

Recent polls have all shown a clear pro-life margin on the issue of abortion.

A CBS News poll in April 2006 found 47 percent took a pro-life position opposing all or most abortions while 46 percent took a pro-abortion position. A January CBS News poll found a 50-42 pro-life split.

The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll last April found a 51-46 pro-life split and other recent polls, such as those from Gallup and Wirthlin Worldwide, have found a 55-45 percent pro-life margin.

The new Quinnipiac poll also found 62 percent of respondents agree with the Roe v. Wade decision, while 32 percent disagree.

But the poll didn’t explain to voters what the Supreme Court did in the decision. That’s important because most Americans polled think Roe v. Wade places much greater restrictions on abortion than it does.

The April 2006 Polling Company survey found that while 65 percent of Americans say they are familiar with the 1973 landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade, only 29 percent are able to select an accurate description of the ruling.

Some 18 percent wrongly thought Roe prohibits all abortions except those in the first trimester, 15 percent said they thought it made abortion legal in only the first two trimesters, and 15 percent indicated they thought it made abortion legal only in very rare circumstances.