While abortion continues to be a highly polarizing issue, a new report by the Pew Research Center shows that both major political parties are reaching historic levels of consensus amongst themselves on the issue.
Overall, the poll found that 57 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 40 percent think it should be illegal in all or most cases.
Perhaps the most interesting result of the study is that the partisan divide on the issue of abortion has widened considerably in the past two decades. Republicans are becoming increasingly disapproving of abortion, whereas Democrats are increasing in their support for the practice.
In 1995, Republicans were fairly evenly divided on whether or not abortion should be legal in all or most cases with 49 percent choosing legal and 48 percent choosing illegal. Today, however, a strong majority (65 percent) of Republicans agree that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Just 34 percent say it should be legal in all or most cases.
On the flip side, although they have shown less change than their Republican counterparts over the past two decades, Democrats have also shifted further from the middle ground. In 1995, 64 percent of Democrats believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Today, that number has grown to 75 percent. Among liberals, it is even higher, reaching a whopping 91 percent.
The study also analyzed data from different demographics, considering how race, age, and gender influences one’s feelings about abortion. It found that blacks were slightly more likely to favor legal abortion in all or most cases (62 percent) as compared to whites (58 percent) and Hispanics (50 percent). Those aged 18-29 (65 percent) and 30-49 (59 percent) are more likely to favor abortion than those aged 50 and over (53 percent). Women are somewhat more likely than men to favor abortion in at least most cases (59 percent vs. 55 percent).
This report found that race, age, and gender do not play as strong a role in separating out those who favor legal abortion from those who oppose it. The most telling way of predicting a person’s views on abortion is generally going to be by examining his or her political views. Those on the right of the political spectrum are increasingly united in their opposition to abortion while those on the left are drifting further and further away from the pro-life side.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0