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Gallup: More Americans Choose Pro-Choice for 1st Time Since 2008

Image: Gallup: More Americans Choose Pro-Choice for 1st Time Since 2008
(Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 01:40 PM

Half of American adults consider themselves "pro-choice," eclipsing the percentage of "pro-life" supporters for the first time since 2008, a new poll has found.

According to a Gallup poll conducted May 6-10 of 1,024 adults, 50 percent of people say they are pro-choice compared to 44 percent who say they are pro-life.

The findings represent a marked change over the last five years when the two camps were roughly evenly divided, with the exception of May 2012 when the pro-life position was at 50 percent compared to 41 percent for pro-choice.

"The pro-choice view is not as prevalent among Americans as it was in the mid-1990s, but the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound. That rebound has essentially restored views to where they were in 2008," Gallup said in a statement.

Before 2009, those on the pro-choice side almost always surpassed those supporting pro-life, and they did so by a substantial margin in the mid-1990s, spiking to as high as 56 percent.

The survey also found that 29 percent of adults believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 13 percent say it should be legal in most circumstances, and 36 percent say it should be legal in only a few circumstances. Nineteen percent of people think it should be illegal in all circumstances.

There has been an increase in pro-choice supporters among both men and women, though a slight gender gap has emerged over the last three years with women more likely than men to be pro-choice. By contrast, there was virtually no gender gap in 2001-11.

The trends by party identification are similar to the overall trend, with support for pro-choice dropping in 2012 but returning to 2008 levels or higher, but support among Democrats has increased significantly since 2001 whereas Republicans and independents have roughly stayed the same.

The survey found, however, a marked change in the way certain age groups view abortion: middle-age and older Americans have become more likely to support pro-choice, whereas the percentage of young adults who lean that way is roughly the same.

"Some of the variation in public views on abortion over time coincides with political and cultural events that may have helped shape public opinion on the issue, including instances of anti-abortion violence, legislative efforts to ban 'partial-birth abortion' or limit abortion funding, and certain Supreme Court cases," Gallup said.

"While events like these may continue to cause public views on abortion to fluctuate, the broader liberal shift in Americans' ideology of late could mean the recent pro-choice expansion has some staying power."

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Half of American adults consider themselves "pro-choice," eclipsing the percentage of "pro-life" supporters for the first time since 2008, a new poll has found.
pro-choice, pro-life, abortion, gallup, poll
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2015-40-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 01:40 PM
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