Americans have shifted toward a pro-life stance in recent weeks during a period when some states are considering legislation that would legalise abortion up until birth, according to a new poll.
The Marist Poll at Marist College conducted in mid-February found that equal numbers of Americans – 47% – identified themselves as pro-life and as those who support abortion.
The findings reflect a dramatic shift from a similar poll in early January that found respondents supporting abortion by 55% to 38%. “Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced, and very measurable, way,” Barbara Carvalho, poll director, said in media release from the Knights of Columbus, the poll sponsor.
The largest swing in responses came from self-identified Democrats and people younger than 45, poll officials said. The poll reported that among Democrats, the gap between people who identify as pro-life and those who support abortion was cut in half from 55% to 27%.
The number of Democrats who identify as pro-life stood at 34%, up from 20% in January. Similarly, the number of Democrats who said they support abortion fell to 61% from 75%.
Young respondents in February were almost evenly divided with 47% identifying as pro-life and 48% as supporting abortion. The figures represent a dramatic shift from January’s poll in which 28% of young people said they were pro-life and 65% supported abortion.
Ms Carvalho attributed the wide swing to legislative attempts to allow later-term abortions. “In just one month, there has been a significant increase in the number of Americans who see themselves as pro-life and an equally notable decline in those who describe themselves as pro-choice,” she said in the media release.
Also commenting on the poll results, Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, said in the media release: “If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear these radical policies are being pursued despite opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”