Support for Legal Abortion at Highest Level Since 1995, But Partisan Gap Widening

The gap between Republicans and Democrats on abortion is at its widest point in nearly 10 years.


Pew Research Center

The percentage of Americans who believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances is at the highest it has been in more than two decades, according to the latest national poll from Pew Research Center. In the October 20-25 survey, 59 percent of respondents said abortion should be generally legal, while just 37 percent said it should be banned in all or most circumstances. "Support for legal abortion has fluctuated in recent years," Pew noted, "but is at its highest level since 1995."

Among Republicans only, beliefs about abortion in the latest poll were almost directly inverse that of the general U.S. population, with 62 percent of Republican respondents saying abortion should be illegal in all or most cases and just 34 percent saying the opposite. There was little difference among men and women, with 32 percent of Republican women and 36 percent of Republican men expressing pro-choice views.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of Democrats (79 percent) say abortion should be legal most of the time—up from 70 percent in Pew's March survey—and just 18 percent say it should generally be illegal.

"The partisan gap in support for legal abortion, 45 percentage points, is at its widest point in close to a decade," Pew points out.

On the Democrat side, it's women who have driven the increase in pro-abortion sentiment since the Pew's March poll. In that one, 68 percent of Democratic women and 75 percent of Democratic men said abortion should generally or always be allowed. In October's poll, the percentage of Democratic men saying the same was down slightly, at 71 percent, but the percentage of Democratic women who said abortion should mostly or always be legal shot up 18 percentage points, to 85 percent.

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  1. At this time of division within our Commentariat, what we need more than anything is an ABORTION THREAD!!!!!!

    1. You either agree with me or you’re stupid.

    2. Bringing up the abortion topic as if there was something new to say about it is a bit like investing energy in trying to sway the mythical undecided voter. But maybe it’s good for the young ‘uns to hear all the old stories

  2. pro-abortion sentiment

    Huh? I thought only anti-choicers used that term!

    1. I didn’t notice that slip, yeah, ENB must have skipped her JornoList training.

      1. that definitely stands out. Which is weird for a libertarian, who should be used to that fallacy i.e. being pro drug legalization doesn’t mean being in fact in favor of people taking drugs all the time.

        1. Being so indifferent to someone being killed that you want their killing to be legal /= letting people toke up on weed if they want to.

        2. To be fair, most Democrats are only pro-choice when it comes to this particular issue of women’s bodies. It’s not like they are banging the drums with us about choice in regards to drug decriminalization, organ selling, or putting gallons of liquid sugar in our bellies.

  3. It seems sort of a meaningless poll-statistic. Even many pro-life types think abortion should be “legal”, but that it should also have all sorts of regulations surrounding it….

    the fact is that the real political argument happens in the “in all/most cases” part of the question. there’s a world of debate between “all” and “most” being glossed over.

  4. ABORT



    1. One of the great moments in television.


  5. How much of this is due to the change in the make up of the parties now that so many people consider themselves neither gop nor dnc. It’s not surprising that the remaining Hardcores would diverge more.

    1. I think its less the party-affiliation issue, and more just generational. Old people be dying, yo. Young people don’t sweat the issue so much.

      1. How long ago something happened is at least a coefficient of how much you can be made to care about it.

        Roe v. Wade happened in some people’s lifetimes and not in others. The more generations are removed from the decision, the more they’ll figure that bitching about it is old-people nonsense.

        Try to get a kid to think about Constitutional originalism vs. revisionism. They just don’t give a fuck. That’s why they can’t be made to care about who the President picks to fill the vacancy on the court and why they think that people fretting about it are similarly fretting about old-people nonsense.

      2. Then again, most young people have baby pictures of themselves from before they were actually born.

  6. I read somewhere Trump wants to outlaw all women’s health, while Hillary wants mandatory abortions for all children whose parents don’t belong to Obamacare.

    1. I read somewhere Trump wants to outlaw all women’s health

      What about his support for mandatory minimum pussy grabs? Those lead to healthier women, like breast cancer self-checks, don’t they?

  7. I think I’m usually going against the grain here when I state my strong pro-life opinion here, but today we can all agree that the abortion of the alt-text was a tragedy.

    1. Winston’s mom’s

      1. Her gap is so wide there’s a Starbucks.

    2. Thigh Gap.

  8. What is th he percentage that support the abortion regime that has been imposed by the courts? That eould seem to be a minority. To suggest that this teoresents a general support for current law is to torture the numbers.

    1. Phrase the question broadly and vaguely, that’s the key.

      Don’t ask specific questions like

      “should parental approval be required for a minor daughter’s abortion”


      “should the halls of abortion clinics be wide enough to accommodate a gurney if a woman has to be taken to the hospital”


      “should an abortion clinic have a doctor on staff with hospital admitting privileges”


      “should late-term abortions be allowed for mental-health reasons”


  9. There is a spectrum in the pro-life pro-choice debate. This isn’t very telling.

    1. Listen, the vagaries allow me to interpret the numbers with my own preferred version of events. That’s what this is all about anyways.

  10. the abortion gap is dilating but is it effacing?

    1. [golf clap]

  11. Can we talk about the fact that republican women are more anti-abortion than republican men? That’s the most interesting part of this chart. The second most interesting part is that the largest part of the gap widening is democrat women going nearly unanimous pro-abortion while democrat men are going less pro-abortion.

    This is what happens when the democrat party makes fourth-wave feminism a major plank, and fourth-wave feminism makes abortion a major plank.

    1. Can we talk about the fact that republican women are more anti-abortion than republican men?

      What else is keeping them in the party?

      1. The fact that they’re not allowed to leave the kitchen?

    2. The recent spin seems to be that not only is abortion simply “women’s healthcare”, but it’s all of women’s healthcare.

    3. fourth-wave feminism

      were they done with the 3rd one? I didnt even know there was another one. Is 4th-wave when they finally realize their idealized matriarchial society?

      1. First wave – Women’s suffrage (Women should have the vote)
        Second wave – Cultural and workplace equality (I am woman, hear me roar)
        Third wave – Marxist feminism (Sticks and stones can break my bones, but calling me names could kill me)
        Fourth Wave – Intersectional feminism (Not celebrating that I identify as a Fem-fluid genderqueer pixiekin does violence to me)

        1. I thought intersectional feminism is part of the whole 3rd-wave marxist/frankfurt-school feminism?

          Wikipedia‘s entry on 3rd-waveism says basically that =

          Third-wave feminism refers to several diverse strains of feminist activity and study, whose exact boundaries in the history of feminism are a subject of debate, but are generally marked as beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to the present. It is referred to as an “individual movement”, because part of the purpose is to redefine what it is to be a feminist. … Although the term intersectionality was coined in 1989, a few years before third wave began, they embraced this concept during this wave.

          This chica expands on the point here

          The roots of Intersectional Feminism can be said to be found in the roots of third-wave feminism, which usually incorporates elements of queer theory, anti-racism and women of color, as well as people of color, consciousness, womanism, girl power, post-colonial (anti-Imperialism) theory, postmodernism, transnationalism, cyber feminism, ecofeminism, individualist feminism, new feminist theory, Trans*gender politics and a rejection of the gender binary.

    4. No, what you’re calling the 2nd most interesting part is the most interesting part. The rest of the chart, the sex differences are insignificant, as they still are among Republicans. But what happened to open that gap up suddenly among Democrats? I can’t believe your explanation because why just in the past yr., plus I don’t think many people are tied into -isms much.

      1. I can’t believe your explanation because why just in the past yr., plus I don’t think many people are tied into -isms much.

        I’m actually kinda interested as to whether there’s an election year deal going on here. You can see small spikes in support for abortion by dem women in 2008 and 2012. Perhaps TEAM VAGINA makes abortion more important for women this election cycle?

        I would argue that the Democrat->feminism->abortion link can be better seen in the longer term slight uptick trend of dem women in compared to the longer term slow down trend of rep women in acceptance of abortion.

  12. OT: Rolling Stones Loses


    The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone journalist was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its publisher responsible for defaming Eramo.

  13. RE: Pew Research Center

    Q: What happens if you fart in church?

    A: You have to sit in your own pew!

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