Poll: Abortion Support at Lowest Point in Three Years, Pro-Life at Highest

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 9, 2013   |   1:29PM   |   Washington, DC

A new Rasmussen poll out today shows the support for the pro-abortion side is at its lowest level in three years, while support for the pro-life position is at its highest.

Rasmussen asked: “Generally speaking, on the issue of abortion, do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?”

The Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters now consider themselves pro-choice, the lowest finding in three years of regular surveying. Forty-three percent (43%) say they are pro-life, matching the highest finding to date. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

The 46 percent on the pro-abortion side is down 7 percent from April — before national coverage of the Kermit Gosnell late-term abortion and infanticide trial.

Although the poll has the “pro-choice” side showing more support than the pro-life side, polling data has historically shown that those labels don’t necessary mean that Americans support abortion. Many people who oppose most abortions wrongly categorize themselves in the “pro-choice” category. In fact, a May 2013 Gallup survey found 58 percent of Americans want either all or almost all abortions illegal — with 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances and 38% favoring it in only in a few circumstances.

Another poll released earlier this year by the Polling Company revealed 53 percent of Americans take one of three positions opposing all or virtually all abortions.

The new Rasmussen poll also found 42 percent of voters think it is too easy to get an abortion in the United States today, the highest finding since May 2011. Nineteen percent (19%) now think it’s too hard. Twenty-four percent (24%) think the level of difficulty is about right.  Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

Meanwhile, half of voters (51%) say abortion is morally wrong most of the time, while 33% say it is morally acceptable in most cases. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

The poll also found 47 percent of voters think there should be a mandatory waiting period before a woman is allowed to get an abortion while just 37 percent disagree and 15 percent are unsure.

More results from the poll:

Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters view abortion as at least somewhat important to how they will vote in the next congressional election, including 36% who say it is Very Important. By comparison, 77% say the economy is Very Important to their vote, and 51% now say the same of immigration.

Pro-life voters are much more likely than those who are pro-choice to say abortion is Very Important to how they will vote.

Fifty percent (50%) of women consider themselves pro-choice, compared to 42% of men. Forty-six percent (46%) of men and 41% of women are pro-life.

Men are also more likely than women to say it is too easy to get an abortion in the United States and that there should be a waiting period. Women are more likely to think it’s too hard to get an abortion. Men are also more likely to feel abortion is morally wrong most of the time.

Voters under 40 are more likely than their elders to be pro-choice and to oppose a waiting period. Older voters believe much more strongly that it’s too easy to get an abortion in America today. While most voters over 40 consider abortion morally wrong most of the time, a plurality (43%) of younger voters considers it morally acceptable in most instances.

Pro-life voters overwhelmingly believe abortion is morally wrong in most cases, while most pro-choice voters think it is morally acceptable most of the time. Most pro-life voters also think it’s too easy to get an abortion in the United States, while pro-choice voters think it is either too hard or about right. Seventy-five percent (75%) of pro-life voters support a waiting period before a woman can get an abortion, but 62% of pro-choice voters are opposed.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of Republicans consider themselves pro-life, while 63% of Democrats are pro-choice. Among voters not affiliated with either major political party, 46% are pro-choice, 41% pro-life.

Forty-four percent (44%) of all voters think the federal government should set abortion laws, while 42% think they should be handled at the state or local government level.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 5, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.