The Corner

Politics & Policy

Poll: Most Americans Oppose Politicians Who Favor Abortion on Demand

Pro-life activists celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling outside the Court in Washington June 26, 2014. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

In a new poll commissioned by the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, a majority of American voters said they’d be more likely to support a pro-life political candidate than a candidate who backs abortion on demand.

The survey, which had a margin of error of 2.82 percent, was conducted by  conservative research firm OnMessage Inc. on behalf of SBA List. The group polled 1200 likely general-election voters selected to “reflect historical voter trends,” and it situated the survey questions in the context of political candidates’ views on abortion.

The first question asked respondents whether in the 2022 congressional elections they’d be more likely to vote for a Republican who supports prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation with limited exceptions or a Democrat who supports unlimited abortion throughout pregnancy.

A slight majority (53 percent) said they would back the Republican, while just over a quarter (28 percent) said they’d support the Democrat, and 19 percent were undecided. Interestingly, Republican respondents were by far the most decisive group of respondents: Ninety percent said they’d back the GOP candidate, just 3 percent said they’d support the Democrat, and 7 percent were unsure.

The Democratic respondents were far less likely than Republicans to back their party’s own candidate. Just 58 percent of Democratic voters said they’d support a Democrat who backed abortion on demand, while 17 percent said they’d support the GOP candidate and a quarter said they were undecided.

Interestingly, Independent voters lined up fairly well with the overall totals. A slight majority (54 percent) said they’d be most likely to vote for the Republican, while 18 percent favored the Democrat and 28 percent reported being unsure.

The poll also surveyed voters about how important abortion was in their voting decisions, and it confirmed what research firms have long found: The pro-life position tends to have a fairly significant edge when it comes to voter enthusiasm. Rating their views on a 1–10 scale, 43 percent of pro-life respondents said abortion was “very important” in determining how to vote, while only 29 percent of pro-choice respondents said the same.

Finally, the survey found that voters tend to become more supportive of 15-week abortion bans after being given information about fetal development and abortion risks.

A majority of voters (55 percent) said they’d be more likely to favor a 15-week limit if unborn children have the capacity to feel pain at that point in gestation, as some research papers suggest. Similarly, a majority (53 percent) was more likely to support the limit after being told that unborn children at that stage of development have a heartbeat, can move in the womb, can close his fingers, and can sense external stimuli. And again, a majority (52 percent) became more likely to back the 15-week ban after being told that the physical and psychological risks of abortion for mothers increase later in pregnancy.

The findings of this survey suggest that, if Americans were aware that nearly every Democratic politician at the national level supports legal abortion with no restrictions, at least some portion of voters — Democratic ones included — would be less likely to vote for Democratic candidates as a result.

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