Gallup Poll Shows Americans Evenly Divided Between “Pro-life” and “Pro-choice”, but Favor Restrictio

By Peter J. Smith

UNITED STATES, May 24, 2007 ( – The annual Gallup Values and Belief survey shows Americans are evenly divided along “pro-life” and “pro-choice” lines, although a majority supports restrictions on abortion in most or all cases.

The survey conducted May 10-13, 2007 shows 49% of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice” and 45% call themselves “pro-life.” The relatively even split has been constant for nearly the past ten years.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58%), however, believe abortion should only be “legal in a few” circumstances (40%) or “illegal in all” (18%). 4 in 10 Americans favor keeping abortion “legal under any” circumstances (26%) or “legal under most” circumstances (15%).

A resounding 72% think “partial birth” or “late term” abortion ought to be illegal, up from 68% in 2003, the year Congress passed the federal partial birth abortion ban.

On the issue of Roe v. Wade, however, 53% of Americans said they would not like to see the US Supreme Court overturn the 1973 decision that made abortion legal on demand, while 35% favor overturning it. Back in July 2005, 63% supported keeping Roe the law of land. Considering that the majority of adults polled did favor abortion restrictions, the numbers may reflect a pervading misconception among some Americans that reversing Roe v. Wade would make abortion illegal, instead of simply letting the issue be decided on the state level by individual states.

On the matter of elections, 16% of Americans said they would only vote for a candidate that shared their views on abortion, while 59% said abortion was just “one of many important factors” in their decision.

For Republican voters, less than 1 in 5 (17%) said a candidate must share their views on abortion as opposed to 14% of Democrat voters. Yet among pro-life Republicans, 22% said their candidate must agree with them on abortion to get their vote, while 34% of pro-choice Republicans said it was “not a major issue.”

Gallup interviewed 1003 American adults of voting age. The maximum margin of sampling error is stated to be ±3 percentage points.

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