Monday, June 19, 2006

Support for Roe v. Wade Hits New Low, Poll Shows

May 4, 2006

U.S. support for Roe v. Wade is at its lowest level in decades, according to a new Harris poll.

For 33 years Harris Interactive has been measuring attitudes toward the landmark Supreme Court decision that made abortions legal during the first three months of pregnancy.

The latest telephone survey of 1,016 adults indicates Roe v. Wade is supported by a slim 49% to 47% plurality, compared with 52% who favored the decision in 2005 (see poll) and 57% in 1998.

Despite apparent waning support, a substantial majority (63%) of those polled don't think it is likely that this Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade over the next few years.

However, 40% of those polled favor laws that would make it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, while another 40% say no change should be made to existing abortion laws, and 15% favor laws that would make it easier to get an abortion.

The percentage of U.S. adults who say women should be permitted to get an abortion under all circumstance (24%) has remained rather stable over the last decade. In comparison, 20% of adults think a woman should be able to get an abortion under no circumstances, compared with 21% a year ago.

Recently, the South Dakota state legislature passed a law that would ban all abortions except to save the life of the mother (see article). Forty-four percent of respondents said they would support such a law if it was introduced in their state, compared with 52% who would oppose it.

(Click on thumbnails to see larger charts)