When told that a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, 56% of voters favor a proposal that would make abortion illegal at any point after such a heartbeat has been detected. However, there is a bit less support when the question is asked without the information about how early the heartbeat can begin. In that case, a ScottRasmussen.com survey found that just 45% of voters support fetal heartbeat laws.
These results are broadly consistent with the larger divide over abortion in the nation today. Fifty percent (50%) of voters believe abortion should be legal most or all of the time. Another 50% say rarely or never.
Given a choice between one candidate who said abortion should be legal at any point during a pregnancy and a candidate who said abortion should not be allowed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, 51% would vote for the candidate who opposed abortion once a heartbeat has been detected. Twenty-seven percent (27%) would support the candidate who believes abortion should be legal at any point during a pregnancy and 22% are not sure.
On this question, 71% of Republicans prefer the candidate who opposes abortion after a heartbeat has been detected. Only 13% disagree. Independent voters lean in the same direction but by a smaller margin, 44% to 29%. Democrats are evenly divided (see crosstab results).
Overall, among all voters, just 12% believe abortion should be allowed at any point during a pregnancy.
If a live birth occurs during an abortion procedure, 69% of voters believe the doctors involved should be required to care for the child and make all reasonable efforts to keep it alive. Only 6% are opposed, 20% are not sure, and 4% preferred not to answer.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters consider abortion to be a Very Important issue in their voting decision.
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The national survey of 1,005 Registered Voters was conducted April 2-3, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).