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Gallup Survey Finds 61% Opposed to Most or All Abortions, Majority Believes that Abortion is Morally Wrong

Jul 27, 2011 | 06/07-June/July 2011 NRL News

NRL News
Page 27
June-July 2011
Volume 38
Issue 6-7

 

Gallup Survey Finds 61% Opposed to Most or All Abortions,
Majority Believes that Abortion is Morally Wrong

By Dave Andrusko

Gallup’s 2011 Values and Beliefs survey, conducted May 5–8, offers a welter of good news for pro-lifers, although appreciating just how encouraging requires that you read carefully.

Far too often attention ends with the response to the basic Gallup question—whether respondents believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances. If you just add the first two, you get a very, very misleading 76%.

But, as veteran Gallup analyst Lydia Saad points out, since 1994 Gallup has “asked those who think abortion should be legal under certain circumstances to say whether it should be legal in ‘most’ or ‘only a few’ circumstances.”

When you offer people these fuller, more nuanced options, it turns out that “61% now [prefer] that abortion be legal in only a few circumstances (39%) or no circumstances (22%).” Only 37% want abortion legal in all (27%) or most circumstances (10%).

[By way of comparison, in May 2008 Gallup found a total of 57% in the two pro-life categories and 41% in the pro-abortion categories.]

A total of 61% of men say abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances (42%) or illegal in all cases (19%). What’s particularly interesting is that the numbers are virtually identical for men, women, and the 18- to 34-year-old cohort.

For women a total of 60% say abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances (36%) or illegal in all cases (24%).

For the 18- to 24-year-olds, a total of 59% told Gallup that abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances (35%) or illegal in all cases (24%).

Asked about the morality of abortion, 51% of the 1,018 adults said abortion is “morally wrong,” while 39% said it is “morally acceptable.” (Just in passing, “morally wrong” is very clear-cut. “Morally acceptable” is much mushier.)

As would be expected, responses reflect partisan divisions.

Republicans and Democrats also differ in their views on the morality and legality of abortion,” Saad writes. “Nearly three-quarters of Republicans consider abortion morally wrong and nearly 8 in 10 say abortions should be legal in only a few circumstances or illegal in all circumstances. By contrast, just over half of Democrats believe abortion is morally acceptable and say abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances.”