for Abortion Drops;
Biggest Decline among Mainline Protestants
conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has
shown a decline for support for abortion in most or all cases from
54% last August to 46% this month. By contrast, opposition to
abortion in most or all cases has risen from 41% to 44%.
is actually even better, when examined in context.
a pollster gives respondents a lengthier and more specific range of
alternatives, there is virtually always a majority that opposes
abortion except to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape
and incest. Blunter instruments—such as those used by Pew—miss the
nuances and therefore underestimate the public’s real opposition to
abortion on demand.
subtlety is hinted at in only one statement in the text. “The
decline in support for legal abortion has come entirely in the share
saying abortion should be legal in most cases (from 37% to 28%).”
This is speculation, but what this likely means is that people whose
real support for abortion extends only to very limited instances
returned to expressing their true view.
poll reached 1,521 adults between March 31 and April 21. “Currently,
46% say abortion should be legal in most cases (28%) or all cases
(18%); 44% believe that abortion should be illegal in most (28%) or
all cases (16%),” according to Pew. So where were the changes?
decrease in support for abortion is across the board. It is greatest
among men and women over 50 (13% and 8%, respectively) and the age
categories 18–29 and 30–49, where support dropped 5%. Put another
way, only 40% of men over the age of 50 say abortion should be legal
in most or all cases (down from 53% last summer). Likewise, support
for abortion among women over 50 declined from 53% last fall to 45%.
mid-October, 57% of all respondents told Pew they supported abortion
in most or all cases. The 11-percentage-point drop (to 46%) cannot
be explained merely by shrinking support among men and women over
50, nor is it the most interesting result.
to Pew, “There has been notable decline in the proportion of
independents saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases;
majorities of independents favored legal abortion in August [55%]
and the two October surveys, but just 44% do so today. In addition,
the proportion of moderate and liberal Republicans saying abortion
should be legal declined between August and late October (from 67%
to 57%). In the current survey, just 43% of moderate and liberal
Republicans say abortion should legal in most or all cases.”
about mainline Protestants? Theirs was the biggest decline of all.
Last August, 69% favored abortion in most or all cases. By April
that figure had dropped 15 percentage points to 54%.
those who were labeled “unaffiliated,” a whopping 71% supported
abortion in most or all cases, down only one percentage point.