Voters Reject Extremes in Abortion Debate, Remain Evenly Divided Overall

A new survey highlights the extent to which voters reject extreme positions in the abortion debate… extreme positions promoted by advocates on both sides of the political aisle.

Alabama just passed a law that would largely ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest. However, a new survey found that just 14% of voters think abortion should be illegal in the case of rape and only 15% say the same about incest.

On the other side of the debate, New York passed a law essentially allowing abortions at any point during a pregnancy. Just 17% of voters support that position.

A closer call is found on fetal heartbeat laws passed recently by Missouri and several other states. Americans are evenly divided on such laws. That matches overall attitudes on the topic: 51% believe abortion should be legal only in rare circumstances or never. Another 49% believe it should be allowed always or most of the time.

There is no gender gap on these questions. Women and men provide very similar responses.

The survey also found that just 36% of voters believe abortion should be legal when a woman does not feel prepared to raise a child. Fifty percent (50%) disagree. This question highlights a key partisan divide. By a 51% to 33% margin, Democrats believe abortion should be allowed if a woman does not feel prepared. Republicans, by a 69% to 20% margin, reject that view. Among Independent voters, 36% believe abortion should be allowed in that case while 48% disagree (see crosstab results).

If a live birth occurs during an abortion procedure, data released earlier shows that 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. releases new public opinion data every day relating to topics in the news and other items of interest. Please sign up to receive the latest data and insights each day via email.

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The national survey of 1,003 Registered Voters was conducted May 19-20, 2019 by and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and a Demographic Profile of the sample). Results from the full sample have +/-3.1 Margin of Sampling Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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