Public Opinion on Abortion

| Thu Oct. 1, 2009 5:59 PM EDT

Is support for legal abortion declining?  A new Pew poll says yes, but ABC's polling director doubts it:

The problem: These two Pew results don’t match other polls that asked the same question this year. Support for legal abortion was 55-43 percent when we polled on it in June, 52-44 percent in an AP/GfK poll also in June and 52-41 percent in a Quinnipiac poll (among registered voters) in April.

....In a question we asked in June, for example, 60 percent said they’d want Sonia Sotomayor to vote to uphold Roe v. Wade if it came before the Supreme Court — very similar to the average (63 percent) when we asked this question four times (re Samuel Alito and John Roberts) in 2005. In somewhat different questions in CNN and CBS/NYT polls in May and June, 68 and 64 percent, respectively, did not want to see the high court overturn (or, in CNN’s phrasing, “completely overturn”) Roe — matching the high in occasional askings by CNN since 1989.

Abortion polling is notoriously sensitive to precise question wording and placement, but the Pew results really do appear to be outliers.  Worth keeping an eye on, though.

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