Few Americans take either extreme position in the abortion debate --17 percent say abortion should be legal in all cases, which is five points below the 10-year average, and 13 percent say it should be illegal in all cases, which about matches the average.
That leaves two-thirds in the middle, saying abortion should be legal in some cases. The debate is about what those cases should be -- 40 percent say it should be legal in most cases, 27 percent say illegal in most cases.
While Alito would be the fifth Catholic justice on the current court, his support among Catholics, at 55 percent, is essentially the same as it is among the general public overall. That's not surprising; many Catholics customarily separate their views on religious vs. social or political issues. Alito's support peaks instead at 69 percent among evangelical white Protestants.
Majorities of men and women support the Alito nomination, with support among women up seven points since November, to 52 percent.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 15-18, 2005, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Fieldwork by TNS of Horsham, Pa.