One year after a Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans identified as pro-life for the first time in the history of the question being asked by the pollster, the pro-life majority has survived, leading the pollster to declare the pro-life position the “new normal” on the question of abortion.
In the latest survey, 47 percent of Americans identified as pro-life, while 45 percent said they were pro-choice. Last May, the divide was 51 percent to 42 percent in favor of pro-life.
“While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third 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,” noted Gallup’s Lydia Saad on Friday. “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.”
When broken down by political affiliation, Republican and Republican-leaning Americans have seen a steady increase in the percentage identifying as pro-life, while there was less movement among Democrats and Democrat-leaning Americans. Independents saw a jump in pro-life interest between 2003 and 2008, but have since declined slightly.
The pollster also reports that all age groups have become more attached to the pro-life identity, particularly young adults and Americans aged 50-64.
However, the percentage of Americans viewing abortion as morally wrong has not seen a corresponding rise, having fallen from 56 percent in 2009 to 50 percent in 2010. Only 38% call abortion “morally acceptable.”
Saad suggested that the numbers reflect the polarizing effect that the deeply pro-abortion presidency of President Obama has had on the contentious issue.
“Barring evidence that Americans are growing more wary about the morality of abortion per se, the trends 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,” wrote Saad.