Abortion support declines, nation now evenly split

The number of Americans expressing support for abortion is clearly declining, leaving the nation now evenly divided on the issue, according to results from a Pew survey released on Thursday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that finds that the abortion debate has receded in importance among liberals while opposition to abortion has grown more firm among conservatives.

From the Pew release:

In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents. Now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them harder to obtain.

Other notable findings from the survey, which was conducted from Aug. 11 to 27 among a total of 4,013 adults:

• One of the largest declines in support for legal abortion has occurred among white, non-Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly. Substantial change has also occurred among Democratic men (with support for legal abortion down nine points) but not among Democratic women.• Even as the public expresses support for finding a middle ground on abortion, most Americans are quite certain that their own position on abortion is the right one, with only one-quarter saying they ever wonder about their views on the issue.

• Furthermore, many people on both sides of the issue say that the opposite point of view on abortion is not a “respectable” opinion for someone to hold.

• Overall, roughly three in ten Americans think that President Barack Obama will handle the abortion issue about right, while four in ten are unaware of his position on the issue. About two in ten worry that Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights.


Read more about the survey at pewforum.org.