Americans appears to be in a period of heightened support for abortion, as revealed in a number of recent national polls. In contrast to earlier polls, which typically showed the country split nearly 50-50 on the abortion question, exit polling on election day 2012 showed a considerably more lopsided degree of support for legal abortion, with 59% of respondents wanting abortion to remain legal (and an even higher 66% of Latinos/as offering this view).
After the election, in a much commented on Wall St. Journal poll taken around the time of the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade in January, 70% of respondents stated their opposition to the decision being overturned, the highest number since 1989. Moreover, in contrast to previous polls, the same poll showed, for the first time, a majority support for abortion in all or most situations. As I suggested in a previous ANSIRH blog, these numbers appear to reflect the public’s reaction to the extremist views on abortion—and contraception as well—that were articulated by Republican candidates in the recent election season, from the Romney–Ryan ticket down to Senate and lower-level races.
But another poll, which has received far less attention, and which I stumbled upon in the course of preparing a webinar, is equally intriguing to me for what it says about emergent abortion politics. This was a poll performed by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in July 2012, which surveyed African Americans and Hispanics on their attitudes about abortion, among other issues. (more…)