Shocking abortion poll

A new abortion poll for NBC/WSJ shows unprecedented support for abortion rights.  (You can view the abortion poll results here.)  With such large, and growing, support, why does Congress always seem to choose inaction, at best, and pro-life policies, at worst?


As the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision takes place on Tuesday, a majority of Americans – for the first time – believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

What’s more, seven in 10 respondents oppose Roe v. Wade being overturned, which is the highest percentage on this question since 1989.

“These are profound changes,” says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart and his colleagues.

And that last comment is from a GOP pollster.

The pollsters also note that, historically, support for Roe – pro-choice positions – has risen over the past 24 years.

NBC/WSJ abortion poll

Source: NBC/WSJ

So while the GOP rape boys running for House and Senate in November didn’t help anti-abortion activists, clearly society, at least according to the polls, has been trending towards the pro-choice side for decades.

Another fascinating point from the poll:

Much of this change, the NBC/WSJ pollsters say, is coming from African Americans, Latinos and women without college degrees — all of whom increasingly oppose the Supreme Court decision being overturned.

Oops.  Seems that rainbow coalition of gays, women, blacks, Latinos, Jews and many others is a gift that just keeps on giving.

Keep in mind that just because you have a whopping 70% in the polls doesn’t mean Congress or the President will do anything.  We had 70% for the public option.  And 70% for significant gun control.

The poll, mostly taken before Obama released his recommendations, found 74 percent of Americans favor a ban on assault weapons, with 26 percent opposed. A ban on high-capacity ammunition clips was backed by 74 percent, and 26 percent were opposed.

The poll also found 86 percent favor expanded background checks of all gun buyers, including sales at gun shows and between private parties, with 14 percent opposed.

And ask pro-choice advocates how they’ve been doing since 1989.

abortion rally dublin Savita Halappanavar

Ten thousand people attended a rally In Dublin in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion. Photo by William Murphy.

There seems to be a disconnect between good progressive poll numbers and Democratic political will.  Then again, I think back to right after the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court battle.  I want to think it was Cheney, but someone on the Republican side, right after the Supreme Court handed the election to Bush, in a sharply divided country, had the following advice for the GOP team: Rule as if you have a mandate.

And isn’t that what the Republicans always do, even when they don’t.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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37 Responses to “Shocking abortion poll”

  1. Gman says:

    Read the real pollsters, 61% pro-life, 37% pro-abortion, Gallup poll.

  2. Aaron Johnson says:

    “according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.”

    I guess you missed the part in the article where the poll was also done by the Wall Street Journal.

  3. radsenior says:

    Abortion rights, sanctioned by the Supreme Court, in the Roe v. Wade case, has become the rallying cry on two sides. As we are seeing, when voters voice their opposition, GOP politicians change the rules to fit their personal agenda, break the law and refer to the voters as an ugly mob. 58% of abortion patients say they would have liked to have had their abortion earlier. Nearly 60% of women who experienced a delay in obtaining an abortion cite the time it took to make arrangements and raise money. The risk of abortion complications is minimal: Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization. Teens are more likely than older women to delay having an abortion until after 15 weeks of pregnancy, when the medical risks associated with abortion are significantly higher.
    37% of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant and 28% as Catholic
    27% of women obtaining abortions have incomes between 100–199% of the federal poverty level.
    42% of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level ($10,830 for a single woman with no children).
    54% of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use
    46% of women who have abortions had not used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Of these women, 33% had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy, 32% had concerns about contraceptive methods, 26% had unexpected sex and 1% had been forced to have sex. The 2014 Mid-term is a-coming! As is 2016, and 2018! V.O.T.E.(Vote Out The Encumberance)

  4. fognog2 says:

    From the network that brought you MSNBC…. I’m sure we can trust this poll!

  5. chasnmil says:

    How many posts today with a new poll out that shows support ERODING!!!!

  6. BeccaM says:

    Thanks, James.

  7. James D. Smith says:

    Your right, off topic. Very rude.

  8. James D. Smith says:

    BeccaM, thank you for the delightful insight. You have done an amazing job of explaining the truth. Hell, I’ll bet that 70% can understand, and agree with your analysis. Jim

  9. s l mccoy says:

    The claim that Americans want abortion to be legal in all or most circumstances FOR THE FIRST TIME is ridiculous. Go to the most reliable site on abortion polls,

    Although this site does include outlier polls such as that of CNN/ORC last August and the ABC News/Wall Street Journal poll in 2008, in which the responses line up so that less than 50% think abortion should be legal in all/most cases, the responses that think abortion should be illegal in all/most cases have even lower percentages. In six Washington Post/Kaiser polls going back from 2012 to 2009, the support for abortion being legal in all/most cases ranges from 52-55%. In 18 Quinnipiac polls going back from 2012 to 2004, the support for abortion being legal in all/most cases ranges from 51-57%. In Washington Post polls going back from 2012 to 1996, support for abortion being legal in all/most cases ranges from 52-58% except in the case of one outlier, at 49% (support for abortion being illegal in all/most cases was still lower). In six Pew polls going back from 2012 to 2009, support for abortion being legal in all/most cases ranges from 51-54% with two outliers of 50% and 47% (support for abortion being illegal in all/most cases was lower, at 44%).

    I’m old enough to remember the year Roe v Wade was decided by the Supreme Court. A poll that spring found that 51-52% of those polled thought that abortion should be legal in all/most cases.

    The US population has not changed at all on this issue since 1973. There have been no trends in the polls of any major polling organization going toward the anti-choice position. All there are in the polls over the years are bumps slightly up and down and back again. The majority of people in this nation have supported the legality of abortion in all/most cases, the pro-choice legal position, for at least 40 years. Period.

  10. Guest says:

    I think that’s basically right. I also think issue fatigue has set in. People in general are royally sick of this as a political issue.

  11. Drew2u says:

    They represent those who care to vote in the state’s districts, and even less than that after the 2010 gerrymandering.

  12. Drew2u says:

    Anyone catch the anti-abortion woman on Hardball – as soon as she started speaking – slipped and said “Wife” before correcting herself and saying “Woman”?

  13. Anna says:

    The reason why congress passes legislation to prevent contraception rights of human beings is because most of us don’t take 5 minutes to call or email our elected officials, but the religious right takes the time.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    No, in fact their policy stances in general are completely the opposite to supporting children born to situations that could have otherwise resulted in abortion. They are against supporting the poor. Against a living wage. Against single-parent families. Against any kind of subsidized child care or health care. The list goes on and on.

  15. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. We have a perpetual state of war. The loss of essential liberties (and I’m sorry, but the right to due process and a fair and open trial is way, way, WAY more important than the right to own a particular semi-automatic rifle). Austerity being sold as essential, even as the rich get richer. An increasingly propaganda-enabling mass media.

    The oligarchs are the Inner Party. Their political lackeys are the Outer Party. And the rest of us are the proles.

    Hey, did you hear the news? The choco ration has been increased to 20 grams The Dems and GOP are going to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare by cutting benefits and privatizing them! And I hear the retirement age is going to be lowered to only 70 years old!

    (end snark)

    I have this feeling things are going to get really bad over the next decade or two…

  16. Carl Gorney says:

    Start calling them “Pro fetus”.

    Because that’s all they are. Do you EVER hear them express support for any policy that would help kids after they’re born? No. (At least, I haven’t.)

  17. Naja pallida says:

    It’s long past time we took a cue from Frank Luntz and started re-framing the debate in this manner. They aren’t pro-life, unless they have a plan for that life after it is born. Being pro-birth or anti-abortion does not equal pro-life without considering the continuing societal impact.

  18. karmanot says:

    And glow!

  19. karmanot says:

    Well done Becca. I would suggest that these wedge issues will lead to, at minimum, a cultural civil war and violence will escalate. The tectonic plates of exceptionalism, democracy myths, radical religionists, militia gun fetishists, perpetual war and the increasingly more powerful and intrusive police state will collide in the destruction of our democracy. We will begin to see a new propaganda to cover the fail. I believe 1984 was visionary.

  20. BeccaM says:

    Here in America, we like to pretend to the fiction that we’re a functioning Democratic Republic, although many shorten that simply to ‘democracy.’ We’re not. I’ve written often about how the real power is in the hands of a plutocratic oligarchy — a minority of powerful people defined not in numbers but by wealth, much of it increasingly in off-shore holdings and accounts.

    Most of them, given their anti-populist policies, probably couldn’t care less about the so-called moral issues. But their political lackeys, not having anything in terms of positions people really care about (employment, education, opportunity, dignity, protecting and expanding liberty and civil rights), have to run after these canards like the damned chasing pointless banners in the Vestibule of Hell. So the lackeys come up with wedge issues — and then lie about them. Gay marriage destroys families and is bad for kids, they claim, even though the usual purpose is to create a legally protected family, often for the purpose of raising kids. Guaranteed access to health care services is socialism, which is presumed to be evil, and lucky for the lackeys, they never are asked to explain why this is worse than the status quo, which is “money = access; no money = you die.” Owning guns is essential for personal safety…and pay no attention to the shootings statistics, just assume that being an American means you live always in a more bloodthirsty society than the rest of the first world. And yes, we’re told there’s nothing contradictory in being in favor of banning abortion in all cases — not even to save an adult woman’s life — and calling that position ‘Pro-Life.’

    Here, the big tell is the inconsistency of claiming to be pro-life — but against guaranteed access to health care for pregnant women or for their newborns. If it is an act of evil according to their religious beliefs that would result in eternal damnation merely to prevent an egg from being fertilized or from implanting once fertilized, then how is it not worse to deny health care essential for a healthy human life once born? Yes: And that should mean FREE health care for those who cannot afford it.

    Don’t get me wrong: There are undoubtedly many ‘true believers’ who think they can explain away this contradiction, probably right up there with mutually holding the ideas of “The gov’t must save those innocent IVF blastocysts” and “The gov’t needs to keep its hands off my Medicare!” Or as Bill Maher pointed out the other night, how the pro-gun advocates are all over the 2nd Amendment, believing owning guns are essential to resisting gov’t tyranny — but remained silent (or cheer-leaded) when the Bush administration eviscerated Due Process, Habeas, free speech, the right to speedy and fair trials, and freedom from torture. (I know, I know… the right wing only screams tyranny when it’s a Democrat in the White House.)

    Being in favor of banning abortion and contraception is a useful way to manipulate the rubes because it elicits an emotional reaction. And the absolutist position requires one to shut down higher reasoning. Same thing with being against LGBT civil rights, including the absurd position that encouraging gays and lesbians to settle down and have families is damaging to heterosexual families. Or climate change (aka ‘climate catastrophe’) denialism — despite the fact almost everybody knows, deep in their bones, that something is increasingly broken with our planet’s overall climate.

    The oligarchs have their agenda: To hold power, get richer, and keep their wealth. Their hired lackeys want to become oligarchs, so in addition to promoting these policies of upward wealth transference (and taking their taste along the way), they have to come up with ways to divide the peons and proles, and to eliminate the middle class and disempower the poor. One way to do this is to ensure women are slaves to our bodies, to instill this message of learned helplessness and submission to the patriarchy. (How many billionaire women are there in the world? Right — very, very few. All of the king-makers and power-brokers are wealthy, privileged men, and in America they’re all white.) Another is to tell people they must be armed to be safe — which helps feed the police/prison-state complex, not to mention the arms manufacturers. Still another is to oppose immigration reform which could stop targeting the people who most want to become loyal, productive American citizens — because that helps create an underclass of undocumented cheap, easily coerced labor.

    We should ask ourselves: If the oligarch’s lackeys manage to ban abortion and contraception, does anybody think the wealthy plutocrats will ever lose the ability to obtain them if they want to? Let’s say it’s illegal all over America. Will some offspring of the Walton family or the Koch brothers be unable to get contraceptive medication or an abortion (even a completely elective one)? Hell, I think we all know they won’t even have to leave the country — they just throw enough money at a willing doctor, just like it was in the pre-Roe days.

    But for the ordinary folks? The ones in this survey who are a majority who believe that abortion should be legal? We’re not the oligarchs, and we’re not their lackeys.

    Another angle on this specific situation is how in the last two generations, the GOP has made it a dogmatic requirement of membership to be ardently anti-abortion, while the Dems’ support has gone all wobbly. Plus there is, a present, virtually no political downside to being a fervently anti-abortion/anti-contraceptives Democratic candidate — especially when all they have to do is say they’re not in favor of a complete ban, just a 99% one. Thus the dictates of Lesser Evilism are satisfied and the party faithful are told they simply must vote for the Dem candidate, even though his positions are well to the right of Reagan and Bush I.

    It’s wedge issues. Classic divide and conquer. And overt manipulation of the lizard-brain masses, teaching them to believe contradictory things so vehemently, they’ll give up all other civil rights and liberties, and commit acts of violence in favor of these supposedly overriding memes.

  21. colleen2 says:

    I wish that were true but it’s pretty clear from the last election that Republican women are unable or unwilling to moderate the views of their menfolk.i When you have a Vice Presidential candidate, a friggin LAWMAKER describing rape as “just another form of contraception” and legislatures mandating the use of unnecessary and expensive vaginal probes, refusing to renew VAWA, when you have record gender gaps in voting patterns there is something more going on than disgust at hypocrisy. We have Lance Armstrong for that. The GOP is a party of sick men who entertain themselves writing abusive legislation because abusing others is what Republicans think power is for.

  22. perljammer says:

    We would all be better served if the GOP would stop servicing the demands of the “religious right”, and the Democratic Party would start servicing the demands of progressives. We might even start seeing political candidates that offer some real choices beyond “I’m not as horrible as my opponent.”

  23. We’re quite good at glimmer :)

  24. colleen2 says:

    Somebody should mail these results to Democrats for Life and their secret membership of ‘centrist’ Democrats.. They’ve been complaining that the collective failure of pro-choice women to live in a manner the Vatican would approve is why Democrats lose elections.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    40 years after Roe v. Wade, and the United States has finally shown a glimmer of wanting to join the rest of the civilized world in reality… but really, one poll does not a consensus make. And NBC/WSJ polling is not known for its prophetic nature.

  26. Naja pallida says:

    That’s really all they managed to do in two years.

  27. nicho says:

    Off Topic, but really important.

    Vatican pedophiles have built a secret real-estate empire using money they got from Mussolini for giving the green light to the Fascists.

    Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy
    investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James’s Square and Pall Mall.

    But these office blocks in one of London’s most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.

    Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handedover by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

    Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m. In 2006, atthe height of the recent property bubble, the Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James’s Square. Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland.

  28. UncleBucky says:

    Divide and “diddle”, hahaha, the GOP mantra…!

  29. nicho says:

    It’s a wedge issue pure and simple. That’s all. Just as same-sex marriage is a wedge issue. Just as “entitlements” is a wedge issue. Just as all the code words for race are wedge issues. Just as immigration is a wedge issue. They’re all meant to keep the 99 percent from realizing their commonality of interests and keep the one percent in power.

  30. Mary Kroner says:

    Please don’t call them “pro-life policies”. They are anti-abortion policies, or anti-female policies.

  31. S1AMER says:

    Lordy, I hope this is so.

  32. Yes, except the polls have “always” been getting better, and it seems like the political climate has stagnated at “no” just as with guns.

  33. BeckFastPaws says:

    Irony: The same conservatives who want to change the definition of personhood, which has stood as “from birth” for thousands of years, are the same ones who scream that the definition of marriage must not be changed, since it has stood unchanged in the US since 1959.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s 40 years post Roe. What is the White House and Congress afraid of?

    Democrats and Republicans alike, bowing to the christer cults, refuse to implement a program of free, federally funded abortions on demand, irrespective of age and with no parental notification.

    They refuse to deny Medicare accreditation to hospitals, clinics and medical schools who won’t perform abortions, or make health care for women, including abortions, part of the curriculum, or who promote quack solutions like abstinence.

    They won’t make HIV prevention campaigns mandatory in all schools, public and cult, and refuse to fund curricula that includes quack solutions like abstinence,

    They won’t make vaccinations for HPV for young women and men mandatory and free.

    They won’t prosecute the cults for spreading HIV and other STD’s under the guise of promoting abstinence and they won’t prosecute doctors, hospital or clinics who refuse procedures like abortion.

  35. Lisa M says:

    On this issue – as well as so many others – the crazies in the House clearly do not represent the views of the majority of Americans. How many anti-abortion bills did the House pass over the last two years?

  36. Guest says:

    There may be something else operating also: People, especially women of every background, have gotten tired of men who are hypocritical about sex ranting at them.

  37. Simply more proof that Republicans and TeaBaggers do not represent the consensus of the American majority…

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