According to a new Gallup poll, 41% of Americans now identify themselves as “pro-choice,” a record low in the history of the poll. Gallup reports the shift stems from Independents identifying themselves less as pro-choice, down 10 points from last year, while the percentage claiming to be pro-life is up by six points. Despite Americans identifying more as “pro-life”, most favor abortion rights in at least some circumstances, with 52% agreeing abortion should be legal in certain circumstances, with 25% saying it should always be legal, and only 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances.
Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for “pro-choice” — from 1998 through 2008 — to a close division between the two positions since 2009. However, in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period.
Gallup notes that while “Americans’ labeling of their position has changed, their fundamental views on the issue have not.”
It was unclear if this new shift in how Americans label themselves on abortion will play a role in how they vote in November.
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