Breaking, new Gallup poll: "The new normal on abortion: Americans more 'pro-life'"

gallup 2010 poll pro-life.png

Love Gallup's headline. And here are the results of its new annual poll on abortion (click to enlarge):

gallup 2010 americans pro-life.gif

According to Gallup...

The conservative shift in Americans' views on abortion that Gallup 1st recorded a year ago has carried over into 2010. Slightly more Americans call themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice," 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll. This is nearly identical to the 47% to 46% division found last July following a more strongly pro-life advantage of 51% to 42% last May.

While the 2-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the 3rd consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion. By contrast, in nearly all readings on this question since 1995, and each survey from 2003 to 2008, more Americans called themselves pro-choice than pro-life.

According to Gallup, all age groups ("with particularly large increases among young adults and those aged 50 to 64 years") and both genders are trending pro-life as well ("with the increase among women coming mainly since 2008, whereas the increase in men started after 2006").

Pro-aborts are losing in the areas that really matter to them: Young people, who would be their future supporters/voters/activists; women, for obvious reasons; and the elderly, who are reliable voters.

gallup age groups 2010.jpg

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According to the Gallup poll, the only demographic not trending pro-life over the long-term are Democrats...

gallup republican democrats 2010.jpg

As it did last year, Gallup blames Obama in part for the shift:

... [T]rends by party identification suggest that increased political polarization may be a factor in Republicans' preference for the "pro-life" label, particularly since Barack Obama took office.

Whatever the cause, the effect is that the pro-life label has become increasingly dominant among Republicans and to a lesser degree among independents, while the pro-choice label has become more dominant among Democrats.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air adds:

It's not the political divide that's driving these numbers -- but it may be that the cultural shift has started to impact political identification as well. If so, pro-choice Democrats could find themselves in a minority party in the next several years.

[HT: Hot Air via hubby Rich]


Nothing more than a temporary pushback against the pro-choice President Obama by the right and right-leaning moderates with which he is unpopular. The pendulum will swing back in the other direction in a few years time.

Posted by: Marissa at May 14, 2010 1:41 PM

Despite Marissa's doom and gloom predictions, when you look at the trend lines over the past decade-and-a-half, it's impossible to miss that pro-life sentiment has been on the rise over that entire period, and rose steadily during Bush's presidency. If that was down to the "encouragement of a friendly administration," and this is down to "temporary pushback against the pro-choice President Obama," then it seems like pro-life is going to gain no matter what, doesn't it?


Posted by: Keli Hu at May 14, 2010 1:53 PM

Minor correction to my previous post. Pro-life sentiment did fall (for the most part) during Bush's tenure, but not nearly enough to get the overall trendline oriented downwards, rather than upwards.

Posted by: Keli Hu at May 14, 2010 1:57 PM

How was pro-life defined?

Posted by: Kat at May 14, 2010 1:59 PM

Kel, I don't think Gallup has ever defined it to pollees.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 14, 2010 2:04 PM

Take a statistics class Marissa. You're half right, the inflection point around the summer of '08 is indicative of when Obama's pro-abortion/pro-infanticide voting record really began polarizing the country's views. But you're neglecting the angles of the long term trends going back 15 years.

Advances in our knowledge of prenatal development and other scientific truths finding the light of day are dispelling the lies and deceit that has shrouded your side's evil acts and allowed them to continue with impunity.

Your side will push back against our advances but we're not ceding any more ground. We're not going back to sleep.

Your child-killing days are numbered.

Posted by: Ed at May 14, 2010 2:13 PM

Nothing more than a temporary pushback against the pro-choice President Obama by the right and right-leaning moderates with which he is unpopular.

I'm not exactly sure what your theory is here, Marissa. Are you saying that;

(1) the right and right-leaning moderates are pushing back against Obama by lying about their actual position on abortion, but will tell the truth in a few years once they begin to like him,

(2) the right and right-leaning moderates are pushing back against Obama by adopting a sincerely-held position against abortion because they figure it must be bad if he supports it, but will become pro-choice in a few years once they begin to like him, or

(3) the right and right-leaning moderates are pushing back against Obama by secretly rigging the Gallup poll, but will let the true numbers come out in a few years once they begin to like him?

Also, why will they begin to like him?

Posted by: The Raving Theist at May 14, 2010 2:21 PM

Thank you Ed. Statistics is a class in my near future. It's nice to see how well math reflects reality.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 14, 2010 2:35 PM

Ed: even if this actually is a legitimate trend that will continue beyond the Obama years... so what? Where's the great victory for you? Abortion will remain as a wedge issue for Republican politicians to exploit? That's just great for Republican politicians, but once they're in power do you really think they'd be stupid enough to try and bring an end to the political gravy train that is abortion? And even if they wanted to, it wouldn't matter, because of the Supreme Court, which if you've been following the news, you'd know is about to get its second new Obama-appointed member. In other words, your movement is completely dead in the water.

The Raving Theist: I'm saying that many poll respondents who might otherwise give a "don't know/care" response to a poll about abortion will now claim they oppose it based in large part on the fact that the current President is pro-choice.

Posted by: Marissa at May 14, 2010 2:47 PM

I'm saying that many poll respondents who might otherwise give a "don't know/care" response to a poll about abortion will now claim they oppose it based in large part on the fact that the current President is pro-choice

So I guess this means your theory is that the majority of "don't know/cares" are right and right-leaning moderates who are lying to Gallup about caring about abortion because they dislike Obama for non-abortion-related reasons. Thanks for the clarification!

Posted by: The Raving Theist at May 14, 2010 3:35 PM


The political gravy train that abortion was is becoming a millstone around the necks of Democrats for the near term and beyond.

Stay tuned in over the next couple of years. When the world economy tanks and natural disasters increase and the proverbial feces hits the fan, the pendulum will continue to swing, and conservatives will make even bigger gains in Congress.

I give Roe v. Wade 5 years, tops.

Posted by: Ed at May 14, 2010 5:03 PM

Posted by: Ed at May 14, 2010 5:03 PM

If Roe goes down, there will be states (West Coast and northeast) that will still allow abortion. What do you propose doing about that. Putting armed guards at the borders of the "pro-life" states to prevent pregnant women from crossing the borders to have abortions. Could get a bit dicey if it involves air transport! There will still be "baby killing" going on and your side won't be able to do anything about it.

Posted by: Pat at May 14, 2010 5:35 PM

Pat, you are right, when Roe is overturned it will become an issue for the states initially. During this time there's not a lot we could do to stop people from traveling to other states to obtain an abortion, just like we can't stop people from going to Vegas to go to the BunnyRanch now.

However, the eventual goal of a personhood amendment to the constitution would grant the unborn rights in all 50 states, thus solving this problem forever.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:40 PM

Roe v. Wade is in no danger whatsoever. By the time Obama leaves office, I believe he will have replaced the entire left wing of the Supreme Court with younger liberal Justices (Ginsberg almost certainly, Breyer is also likely), which means that the next round of replacements will be on the right wing of the Court, some of which could very well happen under a Democratic president. The chances of a conservative majority taking control of the Court is very low, and even if that did happen Roe v. Wade being overturned is far from a sure thing. But I'm sure the noted legal scholar, Ed, already took these things into consideration before making the ridiculous claim that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in half a decade.

Posted by: Marissa at May 14, 2010 5:44 PM

You're forgetting someone, Marissa, and I don't think Kennedy is going anywhere until Obama is back as private citizen.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:50 PM

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:40 PM

In order for a Constitutional Amendment to pass, it needs to pass a percentage of state legislatures as well as two thirds of both houses. The effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment to ban same sex marriages failed almost immediately. There has been no progress on a flag burning amendment. Considering that "personhood amendments" have failed in those states which have proposed them, the speculation that "personhood" will become an amendment to the US Constitution is slim to none. There is no way that "personhood amendments" will pass in the secular states. Ironically, there are still some moderate fiscal Republicans (and thanks be for them) who do not support "pro-life" positions. They live in states with a pro-choice majority. It's very doubtful that Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins would support a personhood amendment - let alone the state legislatures in Massachusetts, Maine, California and other educated and liberal states.

Posted by: Pat at May 14, 2010 5:52 PM

I didn't forget Kennedy: he's a moderate conservative, not part of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court by any means.

Posted by: Marissa at May 14, 2010 5:54 PM

First of all, there is nothing educated about the pro-choice position. The implication that "reasonable" republicans support it is simple hogwash.

Secondly, the reason personhood amendments have failed in individual states is because, against the backdrop of Roe, voters do not understand voting for a law that is sure to be overturned.

However, without Roe's protections and with intense public education, there is no reason to think that a pro-life amendment can not pass nationally.

Of course, there is the alternative option of the SC simply legislating from the bench in the alternate direction and declaring personhood for all Americans, born or unborn. I see this less likely to happen with a conservative majority, however, because they tend to frown on judicial activisim of this nature.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:56 PM

Marissa, you're obviously ignorant of his importance to the Roe issue. He is a solid conservative vote except when it comes to life issues. For that reason, he is unlikely to resign under a Democratic president, but his resignation under a Republican president will allow an opening for the 5th pro-life justice.

He is the game changer.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:59 PM

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 5:59 PM

You must have been disappointed with both Roberts and Alito's position on "stare decisis" re Roe.

Posted by: Pat at May 14, 2010 6:12 PM

You mean this Roberts?

""... if adherence to a precedent actually impedes the stable and orderly adjudication of future cases, its stare decisis effect is also diminished. This can happen in a number of circumstances, such as when the precedent’s validity is so hotly contested that it cannot reliably function as a basis for decision in future cases, when its rationale threatens to upend our settled jurisprudence in related areas of law, and when the precedent’s underlying reasoning has become so discredited that the Court cannot keep the precedent alive without jury-rigging new and different justifications to shore up the original mistake." (slip op., pp. 7-8).
"To the extent that the Government’s case for reaffirming Austin depends on radically reconceptualizing its reasoning, that argument is at odds with itself. Stare decisis is a doctrine of preservation, not transformation. It counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones. There is therefore no basis for the Court to give precedential sway to reasoning that it has never accepted, simply because that reasoning happens to support a conclusion reached on different grounds that have since been abandoned or discredited.

Doing so would undermine the rule-of-law values that justify stare decisis in the first place. It would effectively license the Court to invent and adopt new principles of constitutional law solely for the purpose of rationalizing its past errors, without a proper analysis of whether those principles have merit on their own. This approach would allow the Court’s past missteps to spawn future mistakes, undercutting the very rule-of-law values that stare decisis is designed to protect."

Yeah, I can live with that.

And Alito?
"ALITO: Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973. So it’s been on the books for a long time. It has been challenged on a number of occasions. The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision; sometimes on the merits; sometimes--in Casey--based on stare decisis.

DURBIN: Is it the settled law of the land?

ALITO: If “settled” means that it can’t be reexamined, then that’s one thing. If “settled” means that it is a precedent, then it is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis in that way.

DURBIN: How do you see it?

ALITO: It a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades. It has been challenged. It has been reaffirmed. But it is an issue that is involved in litigation now at all levels. "

Clearly he does not see it as untouchable.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 6:28 PM

Columnist Paul Kengor astutely notes where the pro-life battle is being won and will continue to be won. The women who see their babies in their wombs won't be inveigled by any pro-choice propaganda.

"As I wrote in November 2008, Obama’s election means the pro-life movement can no longer rely on changing [federal] law—though that fight should not be abandoned—but must redouble efforts to change hearts and minds. Pro-lifers must devote more resources at worthy causes like placing ultrasound machines into crisis pregnancy centers. That window into the womb has proven the single most effective instrument in convincing young women not to proceed with abortion. When those women see that child, alive and real, it changes them more than any philosophical or legal argument. Indeed, it’s no surprise that the abortion lobby is scared to death of this technology—which, ironically, increases a women’s knowledge and empowers her “choice”—and will not support taxpayer dollars to subsidize it, even while pushing taxpayers to subsidize abortions."

Posted by: Didaskalos at May 14, 2010 7:21 PM

Yeah nothing like a little public education to let the American Voter see what really goes on in abortion centers. I'm hoping somebody or maybe even an organization with sufficient funding shows some of those dumpsters where all those babies bodies are being dumped.
Lauren- When you are hated and if you continue on the road your on you will be hated remember that they hate you because your doing what's right. And when someone tells you it's not you they hate it's what you stand for remember that what you stand for is who you are. May you be blessed as you fight the good fight.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 14, 2010 7:22 PM

Thank you for the encouragement, Myrtle. Blessings to you as well.

Posted by: Lauren at May 14, 2010 7:31 PM


I'm no legal scholar.

I'm just a guy who knows that a child being ripped apart in his/her mother's womb is wrong.

It is evil...and it is wrong.

And I know that you and Pat are blind to this simple truth. You have believed a pack of lies and you don't see children as gifts from God but rather obstacles to your careers.

Even so, I find it hard to understand how you can look at images of dismembered fetuses and not see the horrific injustice. And then I consider the atrocities in Nazi Germany; abortionist Josef Mengele and all of his wonderful experiments on twins, without anesthetic; the cruel hardness of the hearts of the guards at the concentration camps who were capable of such evil, and I am reminded of just how depraved the human heart can become.

Imagine, we take a razor sharp, knife-edged tube with a vacuum 29 times more powerful than a household vacuum (that sounds like way too much vacuum but that's what I've read from a couple different sources) and we brutally slice up these children and with cold-hearted precision suck their precious little body parts into a bloody tray, thousands and thousands of times every day. Or we simply grab one of their extremities with forceps and twist and torture and dismember these children alive.

You claim to have the make up of the SCOTUS all figured out for the next 5 or 10 years.

I know this: There is a rising tide of righteous indignation in our country that simply will not tolerate this evil in our land any longer.

I repeat: The days of killing precious, vulnerable, innocent children in their mother’s wombs in America are numbered.

Posted by: Ed at May 14, 2010 10:12 PM

A message to Ed and the rest: Marissa is just one of those pro-abort trolls that clog up Jill's blog with her inane comments. I followed one the other day where the poor woman could not answer a simple question about the humanity of the child. She is good foil to explain to others the common sense and the truth of the pro-life view and she adequately represents the utter vapidness of the "pro-choice" side, but efforts to convince her with logic and common sense are a waste of your time.

Posted by: John Jakubczyk at May 15, 2010 10:10 AM

Did anyone read through the rest of the poll? The question I found weird was asking if abortion was morally wrong.

50% said yes, abortion is morally wrong. 38% said no.

2009, the numbers were 56% and 36%
2003, the numbers were 53% and 37%

So pro-life and pro-choice are now pretty much an even split - and while more people think abortion is immoral than moral, those numbers are down over the last 7 years.

Very odd.

Posted by: Ex-GOP Voter at May 15, 2010 10:29 AM

Question and I know I've already asked if a C-Section was safer than an abortion and that was answered but I don't think I asked this one. When a mom'm life is really at risk and this can be supported by documentation is a physician required by law to do a C-Section? I'm pro-life for mom and baby.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 16, 2010 6:29 PM

the doctor must do everything possible to save mother and baby in medical emergencies, Myrtle.

I wonder how this question is asked (the abortion one) by it asked as if abortion is legal through ALL NINE MONTHS for ANY REASON (which is what the law says, with exceptions of restrictions in some states) or is it asked 'for first three months" which some mistakenly think is the law....

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 17, 2010 10:01 AM

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