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U.S. public opinion polls: Year 2000

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Zogby poll of 2000-MAY:

Zogby conducted a poll of 1,016 "likely voters" to determine  "what is the top issue facing the country [U.S.] today." They found that 34.8% of adults considered education, healthcare, or crime / drugs / violence to be the most serious issue. Abortion access was not a high priority concern for American adults. The pollsters lumped those who consider abortion to be the top issue, with those who consider "social issues, welfare, poverty" as the most important issues. The total for all four was only 3.6%. The margin of error is approximately 3.2 percentage points.  1

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Los Angeles Times national poll of 2000-JUN:

The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University polled 2,071 Americans from JUN-8 to 13. 2 margin of error is 2 percentage points.

Question Response
Believe that abortion is murder 57%
Believe that a woman and her physician should be able to decide to have an early abortion Over 67%
Abortion OK if life of woman at risk 85%
Abortion OK if woman's emotional health threatened 54%
Abortion OK is fetus is at risk of an abnormality 66%
Abortion should be illegal in 2nd or 3rd trimester 65%
Support for Roe v. Wade court decision 43%

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Average Gallup poll data: 1975 to 2000:

The Gallup Polls are particularly valuable because the same question has been asked over many years; one question has been asked for 25 years: "Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?" Opinions appear to becoming more polarized in recent years. 3

Status Highest value Lowest value Latest value Trend
Legal/any 34% in 1991 20% in 1975 28% Increasing
Legal/certain 61% in 1997 48% in 1992 51% Decreasing
Illegal 22% in 1975 12% in 1995 19% Increasing

A slight majority of American adults considers themselves to be pro-choice in abortion: 3

Date Pro-choice Pro-life Mixed/neither
2000-JUL 50% 40% 4%
2000-MAR 48 43 2
1999-APR 48 42 3
1998-JAN 48 45 3
1997-AUG 47 44 3
1996-MAR 56 37 5
1995-SEP 56 33 5

Results for other questions are located on the Gallup poll web site. 3

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Ellison Research poll of Protestant clergy in 2000:

Ellison Research of Phoenix, AZ, sampled the opinion of Protestant ministers and pastors about abortion. 4 The margin of error is 4.3%. The question was whether they supported or opposed restrictive legislation which would result in "Outlawing all abortions except when the mother's life is in danger." Support for such a law would criminalize elective abortions, abortions arising from rape or incest, and abortions to prevent the woman's from being severely and/or permanent disabled.

Group Strongly support Somewhat support Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose

All Protestant ministers

69% 13% 5% 13%

Vote as Democrat

38% 18% 7% 36%

Vote as Independent

57% 17% 9% 16%

Vote as Republican

84% 11% 2% 3%

From a conservative denomination (NAE)

83% 13% 1% 2%

From an mainline-liberal denomination (NCC)

45% 19% 8% 28%

In the table above, a "conservative denomination" is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals; a "mainline-liberal denomination" is a member of the National Council of Churches

The same survey also found that 87% of Protestant ministers strongly or somewhat supported "outlawing all partial-birth abortions," presumably even those necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent her from being seriously and/or permanently disabled. 

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  1. "Zogby Poll Shows 70% of Voters Support; Independent Review Over New Health Care Lawsuits; Majority of Voters Would Oppose Lawsuits if Employers Are at Risk," at:
  2. "Poll shows many Americans conflicted over abortion," CNSNews, 2000-JUN-19. Available at: 
  3. "Abortion Issues," Gallup Poll, at:
  4. "One out of five pastors is pro-choice," Ellison Research, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" religious topics > Abortion > Polls > here

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Copyright 2000, 2003 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2004-MAR-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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