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More Americans pro-life than pro-choice, poll showscomment (0)

June 21, 2012


The most recent Gallup poll on Americans’ opinions of abortion shows that the number of people identifying themselves as pro-choice is at an all-time low.

Since 1995, Gallup has asked Americans to identify themselves either as pro-life or pro-choice. While initially 56 percent considered themselves pro-choice and only 33 percent considered themselves pro-life, that has changed dramatically over the years.

Now, for the second time since Gallup began the poll, pro-lifers significantly outnumber those considering themselves pro-choice. The first time this occurred was in May 2009.

Forty-one percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-choice, according to this most recent study. Fifty percent say they are pro-life, while 9 percent said neither.

This decline in pro-choice leaning in Americans has occurred across political lines, Gallup reported. Pro-choice Republicans declined to 22 percent from 28 percent in 2011, while pro-choice Democrats declined from 68 percent to 58 percent in the same period. The number of pro-choice independents declined from 51 percent to 41 percent, actually falling below the number of independents identifying themselves as pro-life (47 percent).

Regionally, the South is the only area of the nation that shows a clear preference: 56 percent of Southerners are pro-life while only 33 percent are pro-choice.

Nonwhites are more likely to be pro-life than pro-choice. So are older Americans (35 and older) and Americans who earn less than $75,000 per year.

A majority of Catholics and Protestants consider themselves pro-life, while a vast majority of nonreligious Americans consider themselves pro-choice.

Despite the shift in identifying themselves as pro-life or pro-choice, Americans’ views on the morality and the legality of abortion remain largely unchanged over the last few years. Fifty-one percent of Americans consider abortion morally wrong, while 38 percent consider it morally acceptable. At the same time, 52 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, while 25 percent think it should be legal in all circumstances and 20 percent think it should be illegal in all circumstances. 

In Gallup’s analysis of its statistics, the company notes that the current figures represent “a clear shift from 2001 to 2008,” before which a majority of Americans considered themselves pro-choice. It remains to be seen whether this trend is temporary, as it was in 2009, or whether it continues through the years. 

(Gallup, TAB)

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