Pro-Life Advocates are More Likely To See Abortion as a “Critical Issue”

Brenna Lewis - 20 Oct 2020


The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released their 2020
American Values poll yesterday (see pages 64 & 65). In it, there’s a lot to digest, and we think we can offer some insight based on our own experience and polling. Here are the key findings in the PRRI poll:

  • Six in ten Americans (60%) think that abortion should be legal in most
    or all cases, compared to four in ten Americans (40%) who think that
    abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.  This is broadly
    consistent with previous PRRI polls. In fact, it appears that support
    for legal abortion fell by about two percentage points since their
    most recent poll in 2019.
  • More importantly, those who oppose the legality of abortion are
    significantly more likely that  to say that abortion is critical
  • 57% of Americans who oppose the legality of abortion say it is a
    “critical” issue.
  • Only 22% of Americans who support the legality of abortion say it is a
    “critical” issue.

What Does All of This Mean?

In simplest terms, it means that pro-life people feel more strongly about their position. It is evidence that the pro-life stance is both good policy
and good politics, and that our side are more engaged and motivated. We’re more likely to Vote Pro-Life First than the other side is to vote pro-abortion first.

Of note about this poll is the apparent loss of ground regarding pro-choice and pro-life positions. Other pollsters tend to draw a more 50/50 line between the two stances, and the fact that this one leans more towards pro-choice seems disheartening. But it’s worth mentioning that how you ask the question matters very much. When Students for Life polled millennials in 2019 about their position on abortion, answers changed significantly when they understood that Roe allowed for abortion through all nine months and for any reason.

We reported at the time, “More Millennials than not support Roe’s reversal. Asked directly about support for overturning Roe and returning abortion to the states, 41 percent supported Roe’s reversal” and “65 percent of Millennials support the right to vote on abortion-related policy and want a voice on abortion policy.”

Share this post