Gallup: “Pro-Life” outnumbers “Pro-Choice” for first time since ’95

Democrats are talking about replacing Supreme Court Justice David Souter with someone who is just as strongly pro-abortion as he was.

That’s not “change.”

It also doesn’t match this recent Gallup poll: “Pro-Life” Americans outnumber “Pro-Choice” Americans 51% to 42. That’s the first time that’s happened since Gallup began asking about abortion in 1995.


About as many feel abortion should be completely legal as completely illegal (23%-22%), which is a big shift from a decade ago where the “completely legal” crowd outnumbered “completely illegal” by 34% to 12%. Just over 50% believe abortion should be “legal in certain circumstances” – what circumstances?

They followed up, and “legal under a few circumstances” outdrew “legal under most circumstances” by well over a 2 to 1 margin.

That showed a whopping 60% who favor making abortion illegal or only legal in a few circumstances, up from 57% this time last year.

The shift is among Republicans and Independents. Abortion views in the poll haven’t changed among Democrats.

What’s it all mean? While no majority exists for a complete ban nor abortion on demand, the country is leaning pro-life for the first time in a while.

“Legal, safe and rare” was the Dick Morris – Bill Clinton triangulation of the abortion issue, and it still matches somewhat with the current polling. The problem is no one ever made abortion rare.

With 60% of the country willing to ban abortions except in certain circumstances if not altogether, Republicans in the Senate would be on firm ground to fight a pro-abortion-on-demand nominee.

Obama wouldn’t nominate someone contrary to the views of 60% of America, would he?

  • EJ

    this seems odd to have such a jump like that in one year, especially when it looks like the trends were pretty stable for quite some time now. Wonder if its just a statistical fluke. I guess will have to wait until next year to find out.

  • I agree with EJ on this. Especially given other data, such as the decline, in general, of denominational religious affiliation, as reported in both the American Religious Identification Survey and the Pew Forum U.S. Religious Landscape survey, both of which confirm that “nones,” or those with no religious affiliation, are the fastest growing group in the U.S., with Americans identifying as Christian down from over 86 percent in the 1990s to 76 percent as of 2009. Meanwhile, the “nones” have nearly doubled, from 8 percent in 2001 to almost 16 percent in this survey. (For the record, I’m not happy about that news either.)

    In addition, when South Dakota, a red state, placed an extremely restrictive anti-abortion referendum on its ballot, it failed twice, in 2006 and again in 2008, even though South Dakota voted for McCain, whose victory margin was 53 percent to 45 percent. With 235,388 Republican voters and only 195,063 Democratic voters, that means some Republicans had to have crossed party lines on that vote.

    So, I am suspicious of the leap in support for pro-life positions. It is just too great, given some of the other data that is around. It’s too contradictory, so even though I respect Gallup, I want to see other polls corroborate it.

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