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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Despite Scotus Nominee, Recent Polls Say Keep Roe v. Wade

If Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts is confirmed, it is quite possible that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned, given the current balance on the court and his track record on the issue. (His wife, Jane Roberts’ involvement in “Feminists for Life of America,” a strongly anti-abortion group is another factor). But Democrats who are willing to give Roberts an easy pass should take a look, at least, at the most recent opinion polls, which show overwhelming support for keeping Roe vs. Wade and strong opposition to criminalising abortion in most cases.
A CBS News poll, conducted 7/13-14, for example found that only 3 percent of respondents believe abortion should “never” be legal, and 59 percent agreed that Roe vs. Wade was a “good thing,” compared to 32 percent who said it was a “bad thing.” A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted 6/24-26 found that 24 percent of respondents believe abortion should be “always legal,” 55 percent said “sometimes legal” and 20 percent said it should be “always illegal.” The poll also found that 65 percent of respondents wanted a new Supreme Court justice to “vote to uphold” Roe vs. Wade, with 29 percent wanting a new justice to “vote to overturn” the decision. A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted 6/8-12 found that 63 percent of Americans did not want Roe overturned, while 30 percent did.
Abortion will remain a difficult issue for Democrats, and the Roberts nomination will likely heighten debate within the Party over the issue. While keeping an eye on public opinion, Democratic leaders should continue exploring potential common ground to build a broader consensus between constituencies who disagree on abortion rights.