Ever since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, abortion has catapulted to the top of the political agenda for many American voters.
Abortion drove female voters in particular to turn out in numbers for Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterm elections, helping preserve the Democrats’ wafer-thin majority in the Senate and limit their widely anticipated losses in the House of Representatives.
More recently, supporters of abortion rights won notable victories in bellwether states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio.
Now, with less than a year to go until the next Presidential Election, abortion looks set to be a key issue in the coming campaign.
Indeed, our latest poll of six key swing states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania), conducted in partnership with The Telegraph, finds abortion to be the second most commonly cited issue by voters in all six states (behind the economy) when they are asked to name the issues that will most determine how they vote in the 2024 Presidential Election.
In all six states polled, Joe Biden’s 2020 voters are more likely than Donald Trump’s 2020 voters to cite abortion as the issue that will be most important in determining how they will vote in the next election—in some cases twice as likely (Pennsylvania, 20% to 10%; Michigan, 17% to 8%; Florida, 15% to 6%) or three times as likely (Arizona, 17% to 5%).
Between 42% and 49% of voters in all six states say abortion will be ‘extremely’ important in determining how they will vote. Again, in all states polled, Joe Biden’s 2020 voters are more likely to say abortion will be an ‘extremely’ important issue for them than Donald Trump’s 2020 voters.
Pluralities of voters in all six states believe it generally depends on the circumstances whether abortion is morally acceptable—a stance commonly argued to be pro-choice.
No more than 30% of voters in any of the six states think abortion is generally morally wrong, making the anti-abortion position a clear minority stance in all six states polled.
In four of the six states, more voters outright believe abortion is generally morally acceptable than believe it is generally morally wrong—the southern states of North Carolina and Georgia being the two exceptions.
As such, majorities or pluralities of voters in all six states say they lean closer towards the Democratic position on abortion than the Republican position.
Between 47% (North Carolina) and 52% (Pennsylvania) say they lean more towards what they perceive to be the Democratic position on abortion.
By comparison, the percentage of voters who say they lean towards what they perceive to be the Republican position varies between as low as 29% in Michigan to as high as 40% in North Carolina.
More voters say they strongly lean towards the Democratic than say they strongly lean towards the Republican position on abortion in all six states polled. In fact, the number of respondents who say they strongly lean towards the Democratic position is more than twice the number who say they strongly lean towards the Republican position in states such as Arizona (31% vs 13%), Georgia (29% vs 13%), and Michigan (33% vs 12%).
However, voters hold a wide range of views regarding the point in a pregnancy after which abortion should be prohibited.
While between 38% and 44% of voters in all six states polled adopt the absolute positions of either believing abortion should be prohibited from the moment pregnancy begins or that there should be no prohibitions on the procedure at all, most voters in every state polled select timescales within 24 weeks of pregnancy or are unsure.
Even so, more than 57% of voters in all six states who think abortion should be prohibited at least to some extent or are undecided (i.e., excluding those who say there should be no prohibitions) say there should be exceptions for abortion in cases of rape or incest or where the mother’s life is endangered.
In addition, a majority of voters who think there should be some prohibitions on abortion in five of the six states (and 49% of these voters in Florida) think there should be exceptions for abortion where there is a threat to the general health of the mother.
Majorities in all six states would also support their state making it legal for a woman to have an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy (i.e., a late term abortion) if her doctors say that her pregnancy is not viable or that her own life may be at risk.
No more than a quarter of voters in any of the states polled would oppose their state introducing such a measure.
While Republicans will wish to keep the next election focused on the economy and immigration, abortion remains an issue of great potency for Democrats.
As Republicans struggle to articulate a convincing and united message on abortion (exemplified by Donald Trump recently criticizing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban as a “terrible mistake”), Joe Biden and other Democrats will no doubt seek to ramp up their attacks on Republicans over abortion policy in the coming year.