Support for Abortion Continues Its Six-Year Upswing

Over at 538, Harry Enten noted this weekend that support for abortion reached its highest point ever in the latest CBS/New York Times poll. Abortion polling is notoriously variable depending on question wording, and I’ve always been a fan of this poll’s wording, which seems both simple enough and common-sensical enough to elicit real opinions:

Which of these comes closest to your view? 1. Abortion should be generally available to those who want it. 2. Abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now. OR 3. Abortion should not be permitted.

Enten’s news got me curious about the long-term trend in this poll. Here it is:

One poll doesn’t mean much. But for the last four years “generally available” has polled steadily above the low numbers of 1997-2011. Is this meaningful? Is America a little more accepting of abortion than it was during the aughts? It looks like that might be the case.


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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