Even in the Reddest States, Less than a Quarter of Residents Support a Total Ban on Abortion

As a number of states have moved to pass laws that would make abortion illegal with virtually no exceptions, a new PRRI survey of over 40,000 Americans in all 50 states finds only 15% of Americans overall say abortion should be illegal in all cases. Notably, there is no state in which more than one-quarter of residents support making abortion services completely illegal. 

The new poll out today finds that states with the largest proportion of residents who say abortion should be illegal in all cases include Louisiana (23%), Mississippi (22%), Arkansas (21%), Nebraska (21%), and Tennessee (21%). In all other states—including Alabama (19%) and Missouri (19%), where restrictive abortion laws have already been passed—one in five or fewer think abortion should be illegal in all cases. 
Democrats (70%) are twice as likely as Republicans (34%) to favor the legality of abortion; six in ten (60%) Republicans are opposed to the legality of abortion, and 22% of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all cases. 
“These results demonstrate that recent state laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures are out of touch not just with Americans overall but with residents of their own states and members of their own party,” notes PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones. “Few Americans, even in the most conservative states in the country, believe that abortion should be banned outright.”
The report also found that 76% of Americans who report having had an abortion think it should be legal in most or all cases, while 60% of people who know a friend, family member, or someone else who has had an abortion agree. Americans who do not know anyone who has had an abortion are evenly split between support and opposition to abortion legality.
The biggest intraparty divide on abortion legality is among Democrats: 82% of liberal Democrats think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 63% of moderate Democrats and 46% of conservative Democrats say the same. Notably, 78% of Americans said their opinion on abortion has not changed in the last five years, and 54% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
The survey was conducted by telephone interview in both English and Spanish between March 14 and December 16, 2018. Read the entire report here.