By Michael Novak and Mitch Boersma
The latest Pew Research survey (April 30) shows an amazing drop in support for legal abortion since August 2008, and a corresponding jump in numbers of those who now hold that abortion should be made illegal in most or all cases. This trend shows an astonishing rise in resistance to abortion among people of all ages, and an eye-catching jump in opposition to abortion among moderate and liberal Republicans.
The overall picture shows a virtual tie between those who want to make abortion illegal in most or all cases (44%) and those who maintain that it should be legal in most or all cases (46%). According to Pew: “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%); 18% say abortion should be legal in all cases, which is virtually unchanged from last August (17%).”
This shift within the moderate positions is highlighted by a 24 point drop among moderate and liberal Republicans in the judgment that abortion should remain legal in most or all cases (down from 67% to 43%) and an 18 point increase in opposition to abortion in most or all cases (up from 31% to 49%).
Opposition to abortion in most or all cases has increased among all age groups.
When Obama won the nomination in August of 2008, young people aged 18-29 were in favor of legalized abortion 52% to 45%. In the most recent poll the numbers have reversed: those opposed to legalized abortion are on the upper end of a statistical tie, 48% to 47%.
The overall survey also shows a current statistical tie. This shift took place, Pew finds, mostly amongst men–falling from 53% to 43% in favor of legal abortion and growing from 42% to 46% opposed to legal abortion in most or all cases–but even the percent of women who now want abortion to be legal has dropped 5 points from 54% to 49%.
Read the entire report here.
Published in The Enterprise Blog May 1, 2009