U.S. Public opinion nationwide polls: Year 2004
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:
||Legalized abortion for any reason during the first trimester;
||Allows states to restrict abortion access somewhat during the second
||Allows 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
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?"
||34% favored making abortion legal in most cases.
||25% favored making abortion illegal in most cases.
||21% favored making abortion always legal
||17% favored making abortion totally illegal.
margin of error was ~+mn~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
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:
|Never attend church
|Attend less than once a month
|Attend less than once a week
|Attend at least once a week
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:
"Abortion and birth control," PollingReport.com, at:
"Support abortion to protect woman," [sic] The Association of Religion Data
Copyright © 2005 & 2006, by
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-NOV-15
Author: B.A. Robinson