Good news from latest Gallup abortion poll, although one question is conspicuous by its absence

By Dave Andrusko

Last week NRL News Today reported that Gallup’s latest “Values and Beliefs poll” found 47% of respondents said abortion was morally wrong while 44% said abortion was morally acceptable. Not once have more people said it was morally acceptable than morally wrong since the question was first posed in 2001.

On Monday Gallup’s Lydia Saad offered what can only be described as a fair-minded reading of the latest numbers on self-description on the abortion issue and under what circumstances Americans believe abortions should be legal.

Saad tells us that 48% self-describe themselves as pro-choice while 46% self-identify as pro-life. The average over the past decade has been exactly even: 47% each.

More important, “Before that, from 1995 to 2009, the public leaned more pro-choice than pro-life by 49% to 43%, on average.” In other words, pro-life identification– once as low as 36% in 1996–now matches pro-choice identification, 1-1. That’s a huge improvement, particularly in light of the relentless pro-abortion tilt of virtually all major media.

What does the public say when asked about the circumstances in which abortion should be legal? After the best year ever in 2019, the numbers for 2020 are still excellent and better than 2018.

In 2018, Gallup found that a total of 53% said abortion should be legal “only in a few circumstances” (35%) or “illegal in all circumstances” (18%).

In 2019, Saad wrote that a total of 60% said abortion should be legal “only in a few circumstances” (39%) or “illegal in all circumstances” (21%).

In 2020, we learn that in a random survey of adults conducted by telephone May 1-13, a total of 55% said abortion should be legal “only in a few circumstances” (35%) or “illegal in all circumstances” (20%).

What else do we learn from the survey and Saad’s analysis? Some interesting demographic splits, none of which are surprising.

What about the issue of single-issue voting: whether an individual will only vote for a candidate who agrees with him or her on abortion?

The results in 2020? No results have been released. But there were in 2019.

Here’s what we wrote about last year’s results. We began with this key quote from Saad:

Currently, 26% of pro-choice adults say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion, up from 17% in 2016.

However, the matter continues to be more important as a voting issue to pro-life than pro-choice adults, as it has in every Gallup measure since 2004. Thirty-five percent of pro-life adults now say they will only vote for like-minded candidates on the issue, an increase from 23% in 2016.

Just to be clear, in 2016 more pro-life adults than pro-choice adults said “they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion”—23% to 17%—a six point advantage. But in 2019 the gap was even larger—35% to 26%—a nine point advantage.

In past close elections, that advantage has proved critical.