The Corner

Pro-Life Sentiment Hits an All-Time High, According to Rasmussen

On Wednesday, Rasmussen Reports released a new poll on the issue of abortion suggesting that pro-life sentiment has reached an all-time high. The findings indicate that 44 percent of likely voters describe themselves as “pro-life,” while 48 percent describe themselves as “pro-choice.” This 44 percent figure may seem unremarkable, but Rasmussen polls consistently show lower pro-life sentiment than Gallup polls. This is partly because Gallup surveys all adults, while Rasmussen surveys likely voters. On average, voters earn higher incomes than non-voters, so this likely skews Rasmussen’s results in a more “pro-choice” direction.

Overall, Rasmussen has conducted 16 polls on abortion since 2010 and, in general, opinion on abortion has remained relatively stable since that time. Many pollsters, including Rasmussen, did find slight decrease in pro-life sentiment in 2012, but the results from this week’s poll add to a body of polling data suggesting that pro-life position has made gains since the 2012 presidential election.  Indeed, this poll also found short-term gains in both the percentage of respondents who felt abortion was “morally wrong” and the percentage who supported a waiting period before an abortion. 

The crosstabs of this survey are consistent with previous polls: Pro-life sentiment is somewhat higher among men, the elderly, and low-income earners. However, the differences between various demographic groups are not all that dramatic. 

One crosstab in particular should provide encouragement to pro-lifers. Among respondents who said that the issue of abortion was “very important” in terms of how they would vote in the next congressional election, 58 percent said that they were pro-life, while only 39 percent identified as “pro-choice.” Many polls show that the pro-life position is politically advantageous, and these results should provide some reassurance to pro-life candidates and officeholders.

Michael New — Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

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