The Corner

Abortion Polling

Last week’s Gallup poll showing 51% of Americans calling themselves pro-life has gotten a good bit of attention. Even for those of us heartened by such news, the poll seems a little peculiar, since it suggests a sharp increase in the proportion of our fellow citizens willing to apply that label to themselves in just the past year or so, and the reasons for that aren’t clear.

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released yesterday seems to suggest exactly the same pattern, with almost the same results (see question 57 here). After asking about a variety of foreign and domestic issues, the poll asks this question:

On the issue of abortion, would you say you are more pro-life or more pro-choice?

Pro-life 49%  

Pro-Choice 43%

51% of independent voters said pro-life (as did 69% of Republicans and 34% of Democrats). As with the Gallup numbers, this suggests an unusual recent spike in pro-life sentiment: the numbers were essentially reversed when Opinion Dynamics asked the same question just 18 months ago.

Can’t say I know what to make of it, but there you are.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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