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The State of Abortion and Contraception Attitudes in All 50 States
PRRI Staff,
08.13.2019

The Legality of Abortion

A majority (54%) of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all (23%) or most (31%) cases, while four in ten (40%) believe that abortion should be illegal in most (25%) or all (15%) cases. These numbers are essentially unchanged since 2014 when a similar majority (55%) of Americans said abortion should be legal in all (21%) or most (34%) cases, and about four in ten (41%) believed that abortion should be illegal in most (25%) or all (16%) cases.

Although a few states such as Alabama and Missouri have recently passed laws that—should they survive court challenges—would make abortion illegal with virtually no exceptions, there is no state in which more than one-quarter of residents say abortion should be illegal in all cases. 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%), Tennessee (21%), Kentucky (20%), and North Dakota (20%). In all other states, including Alabama (16%) and Missouri (19%), fewer than one in five think abortion should be illegal in all cases. Fewer than one in ten state residents say abortion should be illegal in all cases in Vermont (5%), the District of Columbia (7%), and New Hampshire (8%).

Party Affiliation

Attitudes about the legality of abortion are highly stratified by partisan affiliation. 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, although notably, only 22% of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

The partisan gap has increased from 28 percentage points in 2014 to 36 points today. Democrats have become three percentage points more supportive of the legality of abortion (up from 67%), while Republicans have become five percentage points less supportive (down from 39%) over the last four years. Notably, this increase in support among Democrats is accompanied by a shift in intensity. The percentage of Democrats who say abortion should be legal in all cases has increased by six percentage points, from 29% in 2014 to 35% today. There is no corresponding shift in intensity among Republicans.

Party by Ideology

Across party lines, a majority of liberals and moderates support abortion. The biggest intra-party divide is among Democrats: 82% of liberal Democrats think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 63% of moderate Democrats and 46% of conservative Democrats. Among Republicans, majorities of liberal (54%) and moderate (53%) Republicans think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to only 28% of conservative Republicans.

Interestingly, liberal Republicans (54%) are more supportive of abortion legality than conservative Democrats (46%). Liberal Democrats (82%) are more supportive of legality than conservative Republicans (68%) are opposed to it. Conservative independents (37%) resemble Republicans overall, but both moderate (61%) and liberal (70%) independents show strong support for abortion legality.

Race and Ethnicity

With the notable exception of Hispanic Americans, majorities of every race or ethnicity believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (60%) and African Americans (58%) are most supportive of abortion legality. Native Americans (53%) and white Americans (55%) have the slimmer majorities that support legal abortion in most or all cases, with around four in ten of each group opposing legality (39% and 41% respectively). Hispanic Americans are the most divided, with slightly more opposition (48%) than support (45%).

Since 2014, attitudes among white Americans have remained largely stable, but there have been significant shifts among other racial and ethnic groups over this period. Among Hispanics, there has been no movement in the percentage who support the legality of abortion, but opposition to the legality of abortion has dropped by four percentage points, down from 52% in 2014. Asian Americans and American Pacific Islanders have become notably less supportive of the legality of abortion, dropping from 67% in 2014 to 60% today. This is largely attributable to increasing partisan polarization, with AAPI Republicans, in particular, becoming more aligned with party opposition to the legality of abortion. Among African Americans, while support for the legality of abortion has increased by only one percentage point since 2014, opposition to abortion has decreased by four points, from 38% in 2014 to 34% today.

A closer look at support for the legality of abortion among Hispanic Americans

Hispanics are the ethnic group with the most complex and least supportive views on the legality of abortion. Hispanics (23%) are more likely than the general population (15%) to think abortion should be illegal in all cases and less likely (19%) than all Americans (23%) to think it should be legal in all cases. The largest divide is by place of birth. A majority (57%) of Hispanics born in the U.S. believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 36% who say it should be illegal in most or all cases. Among Hispanics born in Puerto Rico, 41% support abortion legality, compared to 53% who say it should be illegal in most or all cases. By contrast, only 33% of Hispanics born outside of the U.S. say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while nearly six in ten (59%) say it should be illegal in most or all cases.

Place of birth also stratifies age groups. More than six in ten (63%) young Hispanics ages 18-29 born in the United States support abortion, compared to just 38% of young Hispanics born outside of the United States. Among seniors ages 65 and over, 44% of U.S.-born Hispanics favor abortion legality, compared to just under one in three (31%) foreign-born Hispanic seniors.[1]

 

Majorities of all religiously affiliated Hispanics say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, although opposition to the legality of abortion is stronger among Hispanic Protestants (58%) than among Hispanic Catholics (52%) or Hispanics affiliated with other religions (52%). However, among Hispanic Protestants, opposition levels of those who identify as evangelical (63%) versus non-evangelical (43%) differ by 20 percentage points. By contrast, more than six in ten (63%) of religiously unaffiliated Hispanics —a growing group that now comprises nearly one quarter (23%) of all Hispanics—say abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Additionally, there are notable divides within the youngest age groups of Hispanic Protestants and Hispanic Catholics. Among Hispanic Protestants, just under half (48%) of Generation Z (ages 18-24) support the legality of abortion, compared to only 27% of young Millennials (ages 25-29). Among Hispanic Catholics, a majority (55%) of Generation Z support the legality of abortion, compared to only 38% of young Millennials.

Religious Affiliation

Among religious groups, opposition to the legality of abortion is largely confined to white evangelical Protestants and other smaller conservative Christian groups. Strong majorities of Hispanic Protestants (58%), white evangelical Protestants (65%), Mormons (66%), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (68%) say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Notably, even among white evangelical Protestants, only one quarter (25%) say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Majorities of other large Protestant groups, such as white mainline Protestants (59%) and black Protestants (56%), say abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Catholics are divided (48% support legality in most or all cases vs. 46% oppose legality in most or all cases), but there are significant differences by race and ethnicity. A majority (52%) of white Catholics, compared to 41% of Hispanic Catholics, support the legality of abortion.

Majorities of all non-Christian religious groups support legal abortion in most or all cases. Notably, some of these groups, such as Jews (70%) and Unitarian Universalists (XX%), support the legality of abortion by wide margins. Muslims (51%) have the narrowest majority, but all other groups have more than six in ten in favor of abortion legality. More than seven in ten (72%) religiously unaffiliated Americans support the legality of abortion, including more than one-third (36%) who say it should be legal in all cases.

Age, Gender, and Marital Status

Younger Americans are likelier than older Americans to say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Nearly six in ten (59%) younger Americans (ages 18-29) support abortion legality, compared to 54% of those ages 30-49, 54% of those 50-64, and 49% of seniors (ages 65 and older). Young Americans in 2014 were slightly less likely to think abortion should be legal (57% compared to 59% now) and more likely to think it should be illegal (41% compared to 36% now). Other age groups have not changed much since 2014.

The gender gap is modest. Women (55%) show slightly higher support than men (52%) for legal abortion in most or all cases, unchanged from 2014. Generally speaking, gender is a less significant driver of attitudes on the legality of abortion than party affiliation and religious affiliation.

Married (47%) and widowed (48%) Americans are the only marital status groups that do not have a clear majority who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Single, never-married Americans (62%) and singles living with a partner (61%) are more likely to support abortion legality. Divorced Americans (54%) are in the middle. There has been very little change in support for abortion legality across marital statuses since 2014.

Personal Experience with Abortion

Americans who know someone who has had an abortion are much more likely than people who have had no such experience to think abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Three in four (75%) 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 supporting and opposing abortion legality (46% for both).

Geography of Abortion Support

Support for abortion is highest in the Northeast, where six in ten (61%) say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, including over one-quarter (27%) who say abortion should be legal in all cases. The West follows with over half (56%) saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases, including 25% who say it should be legal in all cases. The South and Midwest are more split on the issue, with 52% of the Midwest and 49% of the South saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Notably, fewer than one in five Americans across the entire country say abortion should be illegal in all cases. This includes residents living in the South (17%) and in the Midwest (16%) who say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Northeast

In most Northeastern states, more than six in ten residents support abortion legality. Pennsylvania (56%) stands out with the lowest support in the region. Vermont (72%) has the highest proportion saying abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

West

Fewer than half of residents in Montana (48%), Wyoming (46%), Idaho (41%), and Utah (41%) say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Majorities of residents in Utah (54%) and Idaho (51%) say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. In every other state in the region, majorities support abortion legality in most or all cases. Hawaii (66%) stands out with the highest level of support for abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

Midwest

Majorities of residents in Michigan (56%), Ohio (56%), Illinois (55%), Minnesota (55%), Wisconsin (54%), and Iowa (52%) say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Nebraska (43%) and South Dakota (42%) stand out, with those who say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases (48% in Nebraska and 52% in South Dakota) outnumbering those who say it should be legal.

South

The South is the only region in which majorities of most states’ residents do not support abortion legality. Florida (56%) and Virginia (51%) are the only states in the South in which majorities of residents say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Louisiana has the lowest level of support in the region, with just 34% who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases and 60% who say it should be illegal in most or all cases.

Key Demographics Contributing to Regional Differences

Demographically, there are few differences across the different regions. Educational attainment, gender, and age do not vary greatly across the regions. Two key demographics that differ by area are race and ethnicity and religious tradition.

White Americans are more concentrated in the Midwest (74%) than in the Northeast (63%), South (58%), or West (57%). Black Americans make up higher proportions in the South (16%) than in the Northeast (12%), Midwest (10%), or West (5%). Hispanic Americans are most concentrated in the West (24%) as compared to the South (16%), Northeast (14%), or Midwest (7%).

White evangelical Protestants are overrepresented in the South (20%) and Midwest (18%) compared to the West (10%) and Northeast (9%). The concentration of white evangelical Protestants helps explain why the South is more conservative on abortion than the rest of the nation, despite the higher proportion of black Americans. By contrast, white Catholics are more concentrated in the Northeast (20%) and Midwest (15%) as compared to the South (7%) and West (7%). Hispanic Catholics are more concentrated in the West (11%) than the South (7%), the Northeast (6%), or the Midwest (3%).

Self-reported Changes in Views on Abortion

When asked how, or if, their views on abortion have changed in the last five years, more than three-quarters of Americans (78%) said their opinion has not changed. Only 20% reported a change in opinion, with 11% becoming more supportive and 9% becoming less supportive of abortion legality.

These reported changes mostly align with stated positions on the legality of abortion, meaning that those who support abortion legality in most or all cases are mostly becoming more supportive, and those who oppose abortion legality in most or all cases are becoming more opposed. However, small segments of those who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases (5%) report becoming more opposed to abortion, and a similarly small proportion of those who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases (6%) report becoming more supportive of abortion over the last five years.

Political Party

Self-reported patterns of opinion change support the increased partisan polarization in the trend data. Twice as many Democrats have become more supportive (14%) than opposed (7%) to abortion over the last five years. Republicans show the opposite pattern, with 6% becoming more supportive and 13% becoming more opposed. Independents are slightly more likely to report becoming more supportive (11%) than more opposed (9%) over the last five years.

Race and Ethnicity

More African Americans report increasing support for (15%) than increasing opposition to (9%) abortion over the last five years. Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are the only other race or ethnicity that has a higher rate of becoming more supportive of (14%) than opposed to (9%) abortion.

Hispanic Americans are the group most likely to report changing their minds, with slightly fewer saying they have become more supportive of (13%) than opposed to (16%). Again, Hispanic Americans are divided by birthplace on this question. Among those born in the U.S., 17% have become more supportive of abortion, and 11% have become more opposed. Among those born in another country, 10% have become more supportive, and 21% have become more opposed to abortion over the last five years.

Religious Affiliation

White evangelical Protestants report larger movement toward opposing abortion (13%) than supporting it (6%), while other Christian traditions are mixed, and non-Christian groups and the religiously unaffiliated report movement toward supporting abortion. The largest proportion reporting a move toward opposing abortion in the last five years is in the Hispanic Protestant group – with 21% reporting they have become more opposed, compared to 13% reporting they have become more supportive of abortion. White evangelical Protestants and Hispanic Catholics also report becoming more opposed than supportive. Religiously unaffiliated Americans are more than twice as likely to report they have become more supportive (14%) than opposed (6%) to abortion over the last five years.

Age, Gender, and Marital Status

Young people (ages 18-29) are more likely to have changed their opinion on abortion than any other age group. Twenty-nine percent reported a change—more than ten percentage points higher than any other age group. Young adults have changed their opinion to be more supportive (19%) rather than opposed (10%) to abortion by nearly a margin of two to one. All other age groups report more balanced changes.

As with abortion views generally, there is no substantial gender gap. Roughly the same number of men (10%) and women (11%) have become more supportive of abortion legality, and the same is true for the proportions who have become more opposed (10% men, 9% women).

Both never-married single Americans (17%) and singles living with a partner (17%) are about twice as likely to have become more supportive of abortion than opposed (9% each). Married, divorced, and widowed Americans are all about as likely to report becoming more supportive of abortion legality as they are to report becoming more opposed to it.

How Abortion Opinion Impacts Vote Choices

About one in five (21%) Americans consider a political candidate’s view on abortion a deal-breaker and say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their opinion on abortion. Americans who oppose the legality of abortion (27%) are significantly more likely than those who support the legality of abortion (18%) to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on the issue.

Political Party

Democrats and Republicans are each more likely than independents to say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their view. One in four (25%) Democrats who believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views. Nearly as many Democrats who believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases (20%) say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views.

Republicans are much more one-sided. About one-third (34%) of Republicans who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views. A much smaller number (10%) of Republicans who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases require a candidate to share their views.

Party by Ideology

Across party lines, moderates are least likely to say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion. This includes 14% of moderate Republicans, 14% of moderate independents, and 17% of moderate Democrats. Liberal Democrats (28%) and Conservative Republicans (28%) are most likely to say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views.

Race and Ethnicity

White (27%) and Hispanic (31%) Americans who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases are much more likely than white (18%) and Hispanic (18%) Americans who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases to say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views. Native Americans and other race or mixed-race Americans show the same trend. About one-fifth of black Americans who support abortion legality (21%) and oppose it (20%) say a candidate must share their views. Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are less likely to use abortion as a candidate litmus test, with 15% of those who support abortion legality and 18% of those who oppose it stating a candidate must share their view.

Religious Affiliation

Just under three in ten Hispanic Protestants (29%), white evangelical Protestants (28%), and Jewish Americans (27%) say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their view on abortion, the highest proportions of any religious affiliation. Their candidates likely differ, though: More than one-third of Hispanic Protestants (36%) and white evangelical Protestants (35%) who oppose abortion legality, compared to 19% and 15% of those who support abortion legality, require a candidate to share their views. Among Jewish Americans, that is reversed: 31% of those who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases and 22% of those who think it should be illegal in most or all cases say a candidate must share their views to earn their vote.

Gender

Women (24%) are more likely than men (18%) to say they would only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion. Women who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases (22%) are less likely than those who believe it should be illegal in most or all cases (29%) to say they would only support a candidate who shares their views on the issue. Men are slightly farther apart: 14% of those who think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 25% who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, would only vote for a candidate that shares their views.

Support for Government Health Insurance Covering Contraception and Abortion

More than three-quarters of Americans (77%) believe that government health insurance programs, like Medicaid, for low-income women should cover the cost of birth control. Americans are slightly less likely to support these same programs covering abortion services 46% than they are to oppose it (48%).

There is a strong correlation between attitudes on abortion and support for government health insurance programs covering abortion services. Among Americans who believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 87% support government health insurance programs covering the cost of contraception, and 69% of this group thinks these programs should cover abortion costs. Among those who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, 66% think these insurance programs should cover contraception, and only 19% support abortion coverage.

Political Party

While most Democrats (89%), independents (78%), and Republicans (64%) support government health insurance programs covering birth control, there is a much larger partisan divide about similar coverage for abortion services. Two-thirds (67%) of Democrats, compared to fewer than one in four (24%) Republicans, support such coverage. Under half, (46%) of independents support abortion coverage on government-sponsored health insurance programs.

Party by Ideology

Ideological differences are more pronounced among Republicans and independents than among Democrats. Liberal (78%) and moderate (78%) Republicans are more likely than conservative Republicans (59%) to favor government health insurance programs for low-income women covering the cost of birth control. Liberal independents (87%) and moderate independents (83%) are more likely than conservative independents (65%) to support this issue, as are liberal Democrats (93%) and moderate Democrats (88%), compared to conservative Democrats (80%).

The same patterns exist in a more exaggerated form on the question of government-backed support for abortion coverage. Only 17% of conservative Republicans, compared to 41% of moderate Republicans and 46% of liberal Republicans, support government health insurance programs for low-income women covering the cost of abortion. Conservative independents (28%) are more positive than their Republican counterparts. Again, though, that increases considerably to 50% support among moderate independents and 64% among liberal independents. Democrats are most supportive across the board, but still show a wide range: 48% of conservative Democrats, 57% of moderate Democrats, and 79% of liberal Democrats support government health insurance programs for low-income women covering the cost of abortion.

Race and Ethnicity

More than three-quarters of every racial or ethnic group supports government health insurance covering birth control for low-income women. Majorities of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (63%), black (56%), and other race or mixed race (52%) Americans support government health insurance covering the cost of an abortion for low-income women. Native Americans (46%), White Americans (45%), and Hispanic Americans (40%) do not show majority support.

Slightly more Hispanics born in the U.S. (80%) than Hispanics not born in the United States (75%) support government-backed health insurance programs covering the cost of birth control. That gap becomes larger when considering abortion coverage: Half of Hispanics born in the United States (50%) support government health insurance programs for low-income women covering the cost of abortion, compared to just 30% of those born outside of the United States.

Religion

Solid majorities of all major religious groups in the U.S. support government-backed health insurance programs covering contraceptives. Those numbers decline among all religious groups on support for covering abortion, with the considerable variance between only 22% support from white evangelical Protestants and 80% support among Unitarian Universalists. [2]

Age, Gender, and Marital Status

Younger Americans, those ages 18-29 (79%), 30-49 (81%), and 50-64 (78%) are more likely than Americans 65 and older (69%) to support governmental health insurance programs covering the costs associated with contraceptives. A slim majority of those 18-29 (52%), compared to 45% of those 30-49 and 50-64, and 44% of seniors, support coverage for abortion.

There is a gender divide on whether government health insurance programs should cover the cost of contraception: More women (84%) than men (71%) support such coverage. However, women (48%) are only slightly more likely than men (45%) to support government-backed health insurance covering abortion.

More than seven in ten Americans across all marital statuses support government-backed contraception coverage for low-income women. There are differences regarding abortion coverage, though: Majorities of single, never-married Americans (56%) and singles living with a partner (54%) support such coverage. Support drops to 47% among those who are divorced, 44% among those who are widowed, and 42% among married Americans.

Contraceptive and Abortion Coverage Across Regions

There are no large differences by region on support for government-backed health insurance programs, such as Medicaid, covering the cost of contraceptives for low-income women. Among the states, Wyoming (66%) has the lowest support and Rhode Island (88%) the highest.

However, when asked about these same programs covering abortion costs, larger regional divides emerge. Support for this issue only reaches a majority in the Northeast, where 55% agree that abortion costs should be covered under government health insurance programs. In the West, half (50%) support abortion coverage. Fewer in the Midwest (44%) and South (41%) support government-backed health insurance covering abortion services.

Majorities of Americans in 15 states and the District of Columbia support government health insurances covering abortions. Majorities in 25 states oppose abortion coverage, and the remaining states are divided. Support is highest in the District of Columbia (68%), Massachusetts (59%), and New York (59%), and the opposition is highest in West Virginia (67%).

A closer look at those who favor funding contraception coverage, but not abortion coverage, by government insurance programs like Medicaid

Among those who favor government health insurance programs, like Medicaid, covering the cost of birth control for low-income women, 40% do not support these same programs covering abortion. This group represents less than one-third (31%) of Americans. Compared to other Americans, this group is more likely to be Republican, white evangelical Protestant, residing in the South, and Hispanics who were born outside the U.S.

A Closer Examination of the Complexity of Views on Abortion

Quite a few Americans have complex views across these questions about abortion, which tap into different aspects of the debate. Legality, which is an attitudinal measure about whether abortion should be legal; and government funding for abortion services, which taps attitudes both about abortion access and about the role of government beyond the issue itself.

About seven in ten Americans hold views about the legality of abortion and government support for insurance coverage that are consistent. Overall, 37% of Americans favor both the legality of abortion and abortion coverage by government-backed insurance programs. On the other hand, just under one-third (31%) oppose both the legality of abortion and insurance coverage by government programs.

About one in five Americans report more complex views. A small percentage (7%) oppose the legality of abortion but nonetheless believe that government health insurance programs like Medicaid should cover abortion services. The other 14% of Americans favor the legality of abortion but also oppose government-backed health insurance coverage for abortion services.

Who opposes abortion legality, but supports government health insurance programs covering abortion? (7%)

  • Compared to the general population, this group is more likely to identify as Democrat than Republican. Politically, nearly four in ten (41%) are independents, 34% are Democrats, and 18% are Republicans. However, the ideological profile of this group does not differ from the general population.
  • Minorities are overrepresented in this group compared to the general population. One-fifth (20%) of this group is Hispanic, and another 19% are black, while whites make up only 50% of this group.
  • Married Americans are slightly underrepresented in this group (45% compared to 52% in the population). Single, never-married Americans are slightly overrepresented (25% in this group compared to 21% in the population).

Who supports abortion legality, but opposes government health insurance programs covering abortion? (14%)

  • Compared to the general population, this group is more likely to identify as Republican and independent and less likely to identify as Democrat. Among this group, the plurality is political independents (43%), compared to 27% who identify as Republican and 24% who identify as Democrat.
  • Compared to the general population, this group is more likely to identify as moderate and less likely to identify as liberal. Notably, this group is as likely to identify as conservative as the population as a whole. Conservatives form the plurality with 38% of this group, compared to 33% who identify as moderate and 24% as liberal.

Survey Methodology

The 2018 American Values Atlas (AVA) is a project of PRRI. Results for all demographic, religious affiliation, and political affiliation questions were based on 54,357 bilingual telephone interviews (including 32,569 cell phone interviews) conducted between January 3, 2018 and December 30, 2018 by professional interviewers under the direction of SSRS. Results for questions on specific issues (e.g., abortion issues) are based on a subset of 40,292 telephone interviews (including 24,149 cell phone interviews) conducted between March 14, 2018 and December 16, 2018. Results for questions on same-sex marriage are based on a subset of 4,028 telephone interviews (including 2,413 cell phone interviews) conducted between March 14, 2018 and March 25, 2018 and between June 27, 2018 and July 8, 2018. The survey was made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous donor with additional support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, and The New World Foundation.

Throughout 2018, at least 1,000 interviews were completed each week, with about 600 interviews conducted among respondents on their cell phones. Each week, interviewing occurred over a five- or six-day period, starting Tuesdays or Wednesdays and going through Sunday or Monday. The selection of respondents within households was accomplished by randomly requesting to speak with the youngest adult male or female currently living in the household.

Data collection was based on stratified, single-stage, random-digit-dialing (RDD) of landline telephone households and randomly generated cell phone numbers. The sample was designed to represent the total U.S. adult population from all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. The landline and cell phone samples were provided by Marketing Systems Group.

The weighting was accomplished in two separate stages. The first stage of weighting corrects for different probabilities of selection associated with the number of adults in each household and each respondent’s telephone usage patterns. In the second stage, sample demographics were balanced to match target population parameters for gender, age, education, race and Hispanic ethnicity, region (U.S. Census definitions), population density, and telephone usage. The population density parameter was derived from 2010 Census data. The telephone usage parameter came from an analysis of the January-June 2017 National Health Interview Survey. All other weighting parameters were derived from an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2017 Current Population Survey.

The sample weighting was accomplished using iterative proportional fitting (IFP), a process that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables. Weights are trimmed so that they do not exceed 4.0 or fall below 0.25 to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target populations.

The table below shows the sample sizes for all 50 states and 30 metro areas for both sample and issue subsample. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 0.4 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The margin of error for issue subsample is +/- 0.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The margin of error for the same-sex marriage question subsample is +/-1.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The design effect for the total sample, the issue subsample, and the same-sex marriage question subsample is 1.4.  In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context, and order effects.

[1] Analysis within age groups incorporates respondents who were born in Puerto Rico into the U.S.-born category.
[2] The sample size for Unitarian Universalists is less than 100 (N=97) and results should be interpreted with caution.


Recommended citation:

Robert P. Jones, Natalie Jackson, Maxine Najle, Oyindamola Bola, and Daniel Greenberg. “The State of Abortion and Contraception Attitudes in All 50 States” PRRI (March 26, 2019). [prr.org/research/legal-in-most-cases-the-impact-of-the-abortion-debate-in-2019-america]

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