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Steady 58% of Americans Do Not Want Roe v. Wade Overturned

Steady 58% of Americans Do Not Want Roe v. Wade Overturned

Story Highlights

  • 35% want Roe v. Wade overturned; 58% do not
  • 58% of Republicans, 34% of independents, 15% of Democrats want it reversed
  • Republicans' support for overturning Roe v. Wade is at record high

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans remain largely opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade, as a steady 58% majority believe that the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized abortion as a constitutional right should stand, while 35% want it to be reversed. These sentiments are essentially unchanged since 2019.


Gallup has tracked Americans' preferences for overturning Roe. v. Wade since 1989 in 14 separate readings. Between 1989 and 2004, the question provided specific details about the ruling, including that it "established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy," and asked if respondents would like to see the Supreme Court "completely overturn" it. Since 2005, the question wording has been simpler, asking if the respondent would like to see the court "overturn its 1973 Roe versus Wade decision concerning abortion."

Dating back to 1989, support for reversing the decision has averaged 32%, while opposition has averaged 59%. The latest findings are from a May 2-22 Gallup poll, conducted almost entirely after a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to the press.

A second, more descriptive question was included in the poll for the first time, in order to be more explicit about what overturning Roe v. Wade would mean for U.S. abortion policy. The question states that if the ruling were to be overturned, it would mean abortion rights are not protected by the Constitution and "each state could set its own laws to allow, restrict or ban abortions." More than six in 10 Americans, 63%, think overturning Roe and allowing states to establish their own abortion policies would be a "bad thing," while 32% say it would be a "good thing."

Partisan Gap in Views of Roe v. Wade Most Polarized Ever

Partisans' opinions are sharply polarized on the issue, with 80% of Democrats, 62% of independents and 31% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 58% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 15% of Democrats want it reversed.


Majorities of Democrats and independents have consistently favored keeping Roe v. Wade in place over the years, but Democrats' support for keeping abortion legal has risen 10 percentage points since 2021. This change comes at the same time Democrats' self-identification as "pro-choice" has also increased sharply. Meanwhile, six in 10 independents are opposed to overturning Roe, unchanged from 2021.

Republicans have been much more supportive of overturning Roe v. Wade, but it has not been the overwhelming view of the party's rank-and-file, with support averaging 50% since 1989 and falling below the majority level on several occasions. However, the latest reading for Republicans, 58%, is the highest on record for that group.


Bottom Line

While Americans have become more pro-choice on abortion in Gallup's latest poll after the leak of the Supreme Court's draft opinion, support for overturning Roe has been stable since 2019. However, the lack of change overall does obscure a slight increase in support for nullifying Roe among Republicans, as well as greater opposition since 2021 among Democrats. About six in 10 Americans, including 31% of Republicans, want Roe to stand, so that federal protection for abortion rights remains the law of the land.

In the leaked opinion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, asserted, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start" and that it "must be overruled." If this sentiment is reflected in the final opinion of the nation's highest court in the coming weeks, it will be contrary to the preferences of the majority of Americans.

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