New Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Believe Kavanaugh Would Vote to Overturn Roe v. Wade
Majority of Americans believe Roe v. Wade rightly decided and should be upheld
WASHINGTON – With the U.S. Senate poised to consider the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, PRRI today released a new survey showing nearly half (48 percent) of Americans believe President Trump’s nominee would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed. Just 25 percent of Americans believe the nominee would vote to uphold that decision. Nearly two-thirds of Democrats (64 percent) say the nominee would vote to overturn Roe, compared to 34 percent of Republicans. Seventeen percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans believe the nominee would vote to uphold the decision.
The survey also found that a majority (56 percent) of Americans believe Roe v. Wade was rightly decided by the Supreme Court and should be upheld, compared to one-third (33 percent) of Americans who say it was the wrong decision and should be overturned. On this question, Americans are sharply divided by partisan identity, with 73 percent of Democrats but only 34 percent of Republicans saying that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided.
Fifty-two percent of Republicans, including 60 percent of Republican women but only 47 percent of Republican men, believe Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided and should be overturned. Only about one in five (21 percent) Democrats, including 18 percent of Democratic women and 24 percent of Democratic men, agree.
“This new poll demonstrates the dramatic power of partisanship over gender on the issue of a constitutional right to abortion services,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “While Democratic women overwhelmingly believe that Roe v. Wade was the right decision by the Supreme Court, Republican women are more convinced than even Republican men that it should be overturned.”
While many Americans feel they know how Trump’s nominee will vote on this issue, six in ten (60 percent) say they do not know what will happen to access to abortion services in their state if the Supreme Court overturns Roe. Roughly equal numbers of Americans say that abortion would become illegal in their state (19 percent) or that would remain legal (17 percent).
If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, 16 states have laws that could be used to restrict legal access to abortion services, while nine states have laws that would protect at least some legal access to abortion services. Among Americans residing in states with laws on the books preserving abortion access, only about one-quarter (26 percent) say abortion would remain legal in their state if Roe v. Wade were overturned, 15 percent say abortion would become illegal, and 58 percent say they do not know. Among Americans residing in states with laws designed to restrict abortion access, only 11 percent say abortion would remain legal in their state if Roe v. Wade were overturned, 23 percent say abortion would become illegal, and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) say they do not know.
The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) RDD telephone interviews conducted between August 22, 2018, and September 2, 2018, by professional interviewers under the direction of SSRS. Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 1,856 adults 18 years of age or older living in the United States (1,124 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.7 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. The design effect for the survey is 1.4. The survey was made possible by a generous grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation and additional support from an anonymous donor.
PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.
 State classifications compiled by the Guttmacher Institute. For more details, please visit: https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/abortion-policy-absence-roe