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U.S. Public opinion nationwide polls: Year 2004

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2004-AP/Ipsos poll:

The Associated Press commissioned Ipsos Public Affairs to conduct a national poll on 2004-NOV-19 to 21 on abortion access. They found that 59% of American adults supported the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 which allows abortion for any reason during the first trimester, when about 90% of abortions are performed. WorldNetDaily criticized the poll on 2004-DEC-02 because they felt that the preamble to the question asked might have biased the answer in favor of the pro-choice position. The preamble stated that: "The 1973 Supreme Court ruling called Roe v. Wade made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal." In reality, the court decision:

bulletLegalized abortion for any reason during the first trimester;
bulletAllows states to restrict abortion access somewhat during the second trimester'
bulletAllows states to prohibit abortion access during the third trimester, except for unusual cases.

Americans tend to approve of earlier abortions more readily that late-term abortions. By implying that Roe v. Wade only had an impact on the legality of early abortions, the pollsters may have biased the results in favor of the pro-choice position and artificially increased the result.

On 2004-DEC-3 to 5, Ipsos conducted another, almost identical, poll. This simply stated that Roe v. Wade "made abortion legal." This wording might be interpreted by some subjects as implying that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal at all stages of pregnancy. The pollsters may have biased the results in favor of the pro-life position and artificially reduced the result. The poll showed that 57% favored Roe v. Wade.

One might conclude that if a properly stated question were asked of American adults, the "true" figure of support for Roe v. Wade would be between 57% and 59%. 1

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ABC News/Washington Post Poll:

This was taken on 2004-DEC-16 to 19. They asked 1,004 randomly selected American adults the question: "Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?"


bullet34% favored making abortion legal in most cases.
bullet25% favored making abortion illegal in most cases.
bullet21% favored making abortion always legal
bullet17% favored making abortion totally illegal.
bullet3% unsure

margin of error was 3% percentage points. It is notable that 17% of American adults would totally prohibit all abortions, including those needed to save the life of the mother. 2

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General Social Survey for 2004:

This is an extensive survey conducted almost yearly by the National Opinion Research Center. One area studied is abortion access. 3 One question was:

"Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if the woman's own health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy:

Group Favor access Oppose access
Males 84.4% 12.7%
Females 81.1 14.1
White 83.4% 12.8%
Black 80.5 14.4
Other races 77.8 19.0
Protestant 80.7% 15.4%
Catholic 82.2 12.6
Other religion 80.0 14.3
No religion 91.6 7.6
Never attend church 93.2% 4.1%
Attend less than once a month 87.3 10.1
Attend less than once a week 80.0 15.8
Attend at least once a week 73.0 21.4
Political liberals 91.9% 6.8%
Political moderates 83.2 12.2
Political conservatives 76.3 19.2
Overall averages 82.6% 13.5%

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  1. Sarah Kupelian, "AP, pollsters stonewall over bogus abortion poll. NARAL trumpets results of misleading survey claiming 59% of Americans favor Roe v. Wade," WorldNetDaily, 2005-JAN-19, at: http://worldnetdaily.com/
  2. "Abortion and birth control," PollingReport.com, at: http://www.pollingreport.com/
  3. "Support abortion to protect woman," [sic] The Association of Religion Data Archives, at: http://thearda.com/

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

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Copyright 2005 & 2006, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-NOV-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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