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Support for abortion access is near record, WSJ-NORC poll finds

November 27, 2023

New results from a Wall Street JournalNational Opinion Research Center (NORC) poll show that Americans’ support for abortion access is at one of the highest levels on record since nonpartisan researchers began tracking it in the 1970s. Some 55% of respondents say it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if she wants to for any reason, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The poll, conducted for the Journal by NORC at the University of Chicago, surveyed 1,163 registered voters between October 19 and October 24.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the Constitutional right to the procedure, abortion-rights groups have notched up seven consecutive victories in state ballot initiatives. They include an Ohio measure earlier this month to protect abortion under the state Constitution. Behind these successes is a decades-long shift among Americans in support of access to the procedure.

Democrats and Independent voters—whose support of abortion rights was roughly in line with that of Republicans up until the 1990s—now back access to the procedure by greater margins. About 77% of Democrats in the new poll say they support access to abortion for any reason, up from 52% in 2016. Among Republicans, that share is 33%.

Some Republican voters who generally oppose abortion rights don’t want to give state lawmakers the chance to rewrite the rules—a position they see as in keeping with conservative support for limiting government intervention.

Many voters have nuanced views—including backing restrictions later in pregnancy and exceptions for difficult circumstances—that they say aren’t well captured by current legislative proposals. Nearly nine in 10 poll respondents support abortion access in the event of rape or incest, or when a woman’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy.

Research contact: @WSJ