Polls: Republicans Strongly Pro-Life, Democrats Strongly Pro-Abortion

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 6, 2011   |   7:03PM   |   Washington, DC

Gallup has released a new analysis of its polling data from 2008-2011 on questions concerning abortion and it found Republicans are strongly pro-life while Democrats are slightly less strongly pro-abortion.

Using a question calling on respondents to self-identify as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” Gallup found 68 percent of self-declared Republicans describe their abortion views as pro-life while just 27 percent say they are “pro-choice.” The split is the same for women and men as 68 percent of each say they are pro-life while 27 percent of men and 26 percent of women say they support abortion.

Looking at the breakdown based on age, younger Republicans (under 34) are the most pro-life (73-21 percent) while those 35-54 are pro-life on a 64-34 percentage point margin and those over 55 are pro-life on a 69-24 percent margin. The pro-life split was about equal across all educational lines with college graduates most pro-life (71%) and those who have not completed high school the least (66 percent). Similar even splits were found based on income categories.

Gallup found differences on abortion among Republicans based on geographic location — with Midwest republicans most pro-life (76-21 percent) followed by Republicans in the South at 71-22 percent. Republicans in the West are 62-31 percent pro-life while those in the East are the least pro-life, with a 58-38 percentage point split.

These findings are based on an aggregation of Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs surveys from 2008 through 2011, encompassing 1,270 Republicans. But Gallup examined Democrats as well.

Democrats split 62-32 in favor of abortion with women 63-30 percent and men 61-35 percent. White Democrats were pro-abortion on a 67-29 percent split but black Democrats were less pro-abortion, showing just a 52-39 percent split.

Older Democrats were less pro-abortion, 55-38 percent, while younger Democrats (65-28) and middle-aged Democrats (67-28) were more supportive of it.

“Republicans’ broad unity on abortion contrasts with Democrats’ more variable support for the pro-choice label. According to interviews with 1,362 Democrats since 2008 as part of Gallup’s Values and Beliefs surveys, differences in Democrats’ views on the issue are particularly seen along socio-economic lines,” Gallup noted.

“Whereas Democrats with a high school education or less tilt pro-life by 47% to 43%, the pro-choice view rises to 68% among those with at least some college education and to 85% among those with postgraduate education. Similarly, adherence to the pro-choice label among Democrats rises from 43% in the lowest income group to 79% in the highest one,’ the polling institute said. “Like Republicans’ abortion views, Democrats’ views also vary somewhat by region, with Democrats in the West being the most unified around the pro-choice position, and those in the South, the least. Also similar to Republicans, Democrats exhibit no gender gap on abortion. There is a modest generational gap, with Democrats 55 and older being slightly less likely than younger Democrats to describe themselves as pro-choice.”

“Black Democrats are slightly less likely than white Democrats to be pro-choice, although the majority of both groups take the pro-abortion-rights position. The 2008-2011 Gallup dataset contains too few black Republicans for a comparable look at racial views on abortion within that party,” it said.