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Gallup Overstates a Recent Shift in ‘Pro-Choice’ Sentiment

by | Jun 14, 2024

By Michael J. New

Thursday morning, Gallup released the results of the annual poll on abortion. It found that 54 percent of Americans identify as “pro-choice.” That is an increase of two percentage points since last year’s Gallup poll. This poll also found that a record 32 percent of U.S. voters would vote only for a candidate who shares their views on abortion. In their analysis, Gallup indicates that these trends helped Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections and anticipates that they will be beneficial to Democrats running for office in 2024.

Overall, there is much less here than meets the eye. First, Gallup found a three-percentage-point reduction in “pro-choice” sentiment last year, and so this year’s gain in “pro-choice” sentiment largely represents a reversion to the mean. Indeed, according to Gallup, public opinion on abortion is almost exactly where it was in May 2022, before the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision.

Second, Gallup’s own data show that nearly all of the recent gains in “pro-choice” sentiment been among self-identified Democrats. In fact, abortion attitudes among both Republicans and independents have remained virtually unchanged since 2021, so it is not clear that the Dobbs decision has made Republican and Independent voters more likely to support Democratic candidates.

Indeed, not one pro-life Republican senator or governor running for reelection has lost since the Dobbs decision. That includes Republican governors who signed strong pro-life laws, including Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Georgia governor Brian Kemp, Texas governor Greg Abbott, and Ohio governor Mike DeWine. These Governors all faced well-financed Democratic opponents who aggressively campaigned on legal abortion. However, each of these pro-life Republican governors prevailed by comfortable margins.

Multiple surveys show that the Dobbs decision has motivated supporters of legal abortion. At the margins, that might well have helped Democratic candidates running in competitive districts in 2022.

However, the Dobbs decision has not been as beneficial to Democrats as many pundits and mainstream media outlets indicate. Indeed, many pro-life Republican candidates have won in competitive states and districts post-Dobbs. As always, pro-lifers need not despair. Pro-lifers can still have a successful election cycle in 2024 and beyond.

Categories: Polling