New Poll: Evangelical Christians, Churchgoing Americans More Likely Pro-Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Poll: Evangelical Christians, Churchgoing Americans More Likely Pro-Life

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 16
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The results of a new poll conducted by the Barna Group find evangelical Christians and churchgoing Americans are more likely to take a position favoring making all or most abortions illegal. Those who are less inclined to have a religious faith or don’t consider themselves churchgoers favor legal abortions.

The Barna study of 1,001 adults explored Americans’ views on abortion by asking if they believe “abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases.”

Among evangelical Christians, 78% believe that the practice should be illegal in all or most cases.

On the other hand, 72% of atheists and agnostics support keeping most or all abortions legal.

"Also, each of these segments was the most likely population group to express unyielding resistance to (evangelicals) or support for (atheists and agnostics) abortion," Barna indicated.

Looking at other faith groups, Barna found non-evangelical born again Christians favor making abortion illegal (55% illegal versus 39% legal), as did active churchgoers (60% versus 33%) and non-mainline Protestants (58% versus 34%).

Those faith segments that prefer keeping abortion legal were self-identified Christians who are not born again (54% legal versus 31% illegal), Catholics (53% versus 36%), mainline Protestants (53% versus 40%), and faiths other than Christianity (54% versus 42%).

When Barna combined faith and political allegiance, it found born again Republicans (72%) were among the most likely to say they want most or all abortions made illegal. Born again independent voters also favored making abortion illegal (58%), while born again Democrats were split between those who were for (47%) and against (47%) the practice.

Barna also surveyed voters based on their age and found young Christians are just as likely as older Christians to support making abortion illegal. In fact, they are slightly more pro-life.

"While there has been much discussion about the changing perspectives of young Christians, the research revealed that born again Christians under the age of 45 were not substantially different from older generations of Christians. Overall, 61% of 18- to 44-year-old born again Christians said they wanted to see abortion be illegal in all or most cases, which compares to 55% among born again believers ages 45 and older," Barna indicated.

"Interestingly, when compared to older born again Christians, the younger set are much more likely to express strong views about the subject (either keeping it legal or illegal in all cases) and less likely to say they are not sure," Barna said.

The analysis from the research groups finds the groups most supportive of making abortions illegal include residents of the South, political conservatives, people aged 18-25, and Republicans.

It also found blacks, parents, married adults, non-college grads, people 64 and up, and downscale adults open to making abortions illegal.

The groups Barna found more likely to support legalized abortion include some that other surveys have found solidly pro-life, such as blacks and Hispanics.

Other groups include upscale adults and college graduates, Busters (ages 26 to 44) and Boomers (ages 45 to 63), women, unmarried adults and those currently without children, political moderates and liberals, Democrats, and residents living in the West, and Northeast.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, said one of the most interesting trends of the study is that "younger born again Christians specifically and 18- to 25-year-olds in general seem to be embracing, or at least retaining, a conservative viewpoint on abortion.”


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