Trafalgar: Americans largely support some abortion restrictions

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

How many Americans would support Chuck Schumer’s radical abortion-federalizing bill if they knew all the particulars? How many support positions from Democratic candidates such as Tim Ryan in Ohio, who refuses to support any restriction at all on abortion?

Roughly 12%, according to a new poll released today by Trafalgar, a GOP-leaning pollster with a reliable track record nonetheless. Only 14% would accept the GOP’s normal position on abortion, for that matter. If nothing else, this poll shows that despite all of the shrieking and shouting prompted from the leak of the draft opinion on abortion from the Supreme Court, nearly nothing has changed politically on the issue:

Compare these results to the Pew Research survey completed in March, before the Dobbs leaked draft went public. The numbers aren’t a precise match, but the general results agree closely:

Take out the no-exceptions slices of the pie on both ends, and you end up with about 70% of Americans landing in the middle. Trafalgar asks the questions more specifically to policy rather than just “exceptions,” but we get nearly the same split. Overall, roughly half of Americans will support abortion in the first and/or second trimesters, a third want it opposed either entirely or with the exceptions, and we have the Schumer/Ryan 11.6% for extreme, absolute legalization.

Furthermore, that holds up in Trafalgar’s partisan demos as well. Only 19% of Democrats polled agreed with the Schumer/Ryan position that there should be no legal impediment to abortion at any stage of pregnancy, although only around 18% thought it should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the physical life of the mother. Another 18% of Democrats want it limited to either the first trimester or the appearance of the heartbeat. Finally, a separate group of 45.3% of Democrats want it only legal in the first and second trimesters, with no partial-birth abortions allowed.

Furthermore, those positions get distributed somewhat similarly in all other demos as well. Over a third of women, for instance, want abortion illegal at all times or with the exceptions of rape, incest, and threats to the mother’s life. Only 13% want abortion legal to the moment of birth, the Schumer/Ryan position. The strongest demographic for the Schumer/Ryan position comes by far from the 25-34YO demo, and that only amounts to 32% — and 42% want it illegal in all cases or in the exceptions Trafalgar mentions. The youngest demo (18-24) has a plurality of 42% supporting abortion in the first and second trimesters, but 31% want it illegal in all cases or with the exceptions.

What does this tell us? First, it shows that this issue needs to go through the political process to find policies that can garner enough of a consensus to be sustainable and reliable.  Second, it shows that neither party’s official positions represent even a plurality of Americans, but the position seized by Democrats in the wake of the Dobbs leak is particularly extreme. For a party already running pell-mell into midterm disaster, Democrats are flapping their gums when they should be opening their ears — and a compliant media that keeps them in an ideological bubble probably hasn’t helped matters either.