Americans overwhelmingly would like to be able to vote on an abortion measure on their state ballot, an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds. And if they had the chance, they would oppose efforts to ban the procedure by almost 2-1.
The survey, taken in the aftermath of the stunning defeat in Kansas last week of a proposal to remove abortion rights from the state constitutionis more evidence of a backlash to the Supreme Court’s decision that allows states to sharpen restrictions on abortion or bar it entirely.
Seven in 10 say they would support using a ballot measure to decide abortion rights in their state, an idea backed across party lines, by 73% of Democrats, 77% of Republicans and 67% of independents. Democrats are the most energized on the issue, with 43% saying they “strongly support” putting abortion on the ballot.
If there were a ballot measure in their state, those polled would vote by 54%-28% in favor of making abortion legal. Democrats support legal abortion in their state by 7-1 (76%-10%) and independents by 2-1 (52%-27%). Among Republicans, 34% would support abortion rights and 54% would oppose them, a worrisome fissure for the party that has long been identified with the anti-abortion movement.
At particular risk for the GOP are two groups of swing voters. Suburbanites by 56%-26% say they would vote to support abortion rights in a ballot measure. And women by 60%-25% would support an abortion rights initiative, significantly more than the backing among men of 47%-32%.
How will abortion issue affect midterm elections?
As the midterm elections approach in 90 days, political strategists are facing this question: Without an abortion measure on the ballot in most states, voters will chose to express their views on the issue with the candidates they support, or in their decision whether to turn out to vote?
“With abortion no longer a constitutional right, Americans are looking to the voting booth to have their voice heard on the issue,” Ipsos President Cliff Young says. “However, the divisions that exist across the states could bring legal, medical, and lifelong consequences for many parts of the country.”
In the first month following the high court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, 11 states, all in the South or Midwest, have outlawed abortion or implemented a ban at six weeks of pregnancy, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute. At least four states are slated to have abortion measures on the ballot this fall, including California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont. A measure is also likely in Michigan.
Abortion laws by state:Searchable database of state-by-state abortion limits and protections
Democrats are most engaged on the issue: 52% are familiar with the Kansas vote compared to 36% of Republicans.
Overall, 60% of Americans say they believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases; 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Just 9% of those surveyed said abortion should be illegal in all cases, including only 16% of Republicans.
The online poll of 1,018 Americans, taken Aug. 5-8 on Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism