The percent of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” regarding legalized abortion is at a new low of 41 percent, according to a newly released Gallup poll. The figure is one percent lower than the previous all-time low registered by Gallup, which was in May 2009.
The decline appears to fall along party lines, with the percent of Republicans identifying as “pro-choice” decreasing from 28 percent last May, to 22 percent in this most recent poll. Democrats remain somewhat consistent, around 60 percent identify as pro-choice.
Pro-choice and pro-life was the language used in the Gallup poll questionnaire.
Potentially troubling for Democrats heading into the fall is the drop among voters who are registered as Independents identifying as “pro-choice.” The survey found 41 percent of Independents identified as “pro-choice,” while 47 percent identified as “pro-life,” marking only the second time since 2001 that the number of “pro-life” Independents has outweighed the number of “pro-choice” Independents.
The reason for the shift in numbers is unclear, but the potential political implications may not actually be that great.
When polled on the question of legality, 52 percent of Americans said they believe that abortion should be legal “in certain circumstances.” That number remains consistent with polling from May 2011.
Gallup found that 25 percent believe that abortion should be legal “in all cases,” while 20 percent believe it should be illegal “in all cases.” Those numbers are also consistent with polling from the same time last year.