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Record Share of U.S. Electorate Is Pro-Choice and Voting on It

Record Share of U.S. Electorate Is Pro-Choice and Voting on It

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A record-high 32% of U.S. voters say they would only vote for a candidate for major office who shares their views on abortion. The importance of a candidate’s abortion stance to one’s vote is markedly higher among pro-choice voters than it was during the 2020 presidential election cycle, while pro-life voters’ intensity about voting on the abortion issue has waned. Also, voters’ greater intensity on the issue today compared with 2020 is explained mainly by Democrats, while Republicans and independents have shown little change.

U.S. adults who are pro-choice are also significantly more likely now than two decades ago to say it is important that any future Supreme Court nominees share their views on abortion.

These results come two years after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked draft decision foretold the court’s plan to abolish constitutional protection for abortion.

At the same time, Gallup finds Americans’ support for abortion rights and identification as “pro-choice” holding at the historically high levels seen since the Dobbs decision was leaked.

These findings are from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-23.

Abortion’s Importance as Voting Issue Up, Especially Among Pro-Choice Voters

Gallup has gauged the importance of a candidate’s views on abortion among U.S. registered voters at least once during each presidential election cycle since 1992. The current 32% who say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views is up four percentage points since last May and eight points since 2020.

Meanwhile, a diminished plurality of voters, 45% (down 11 points from last year), consider abortion to be just one of many important factors, the lowest reading since 2012. Another 19% (up five points) say it is not a major issue for them, which is the third consecutive reading under 20% and well below those taken between 1992 and 2020.


An examination of voters’ responses to this question based on their stance on abortion shows that pro-choice candidates stand to benefit more than pro-life candidates from single-issue abortion voters. Specifically, nearly twice as many pro-choice voters (40%) as pro-life voters (22%) say they will only vote for a candidate who agrees with them on abortion. This is the third consecutive year that abortion-centric pro-choice voters have outnumbered abortion-centric pro-life voters in the U.S., marking a reversal of the pro-life advantage between 1996 and 2020.

As a result of these changes, the 32% of all registered voters who say they will only vote for candidates who share their views on abortion now includes 23% who are pro-choice and 8% who are pro-life. (Another 1% don’t identify with either label.)

Before 2022, electoral energy was more balanced or leaned toward the pro-life side. During this time, no more than 10% of voters said they were pro-choice and would only vote for those with the same beliefs and no more than 13% of voters identified as pro-life and would only support candidates with the same position.


The increase in pro-choice Americans who say they prioritize the issue when voting may have helped Democrats blunt Republicans’ anticipated gains in the 2022 midterm election and would appear to be an even greater advantage for the party today. One cautionary note is that all of the increase since then in voters saying they will only support candidates who share their position on abortion has occurred among Democrats. A slight majority of Democratic registered voters (52%) now say this, up from 37% in 2022.

In an era of hyper-partisanship and where candidates generally align with their party’s position on the abortion issue, this isn’t likely to affect whom Democrats vote for, but it could help drive Democrats to the polls. Meanwhile, independents’ and Republicans’ focus on the issue has been steady at just over 20%.

More Say Future Supreme Court Nominees’ Abortion Stance Is Important

One way abortion is likely to be discussed in the presidential campaign is how the candidates’ potential choices of Supreme Court nominees might influence U.S. law on the issue. (Donald Trump’s appointment of three justices in his term, all of whom voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, made clear how presidential elections can affect abortion policy.) A slim majority of 51% of Americans say it is “very important” that future nominees share their views on abortion, and another 31% say it is “somewhat important.” Just 9% believe nominees’ abortion stance is “not too important" and 8% “not important at all.”

The only other reading on this question was taken in 2005. At that point, slightly fewer U.S. adults, 45%, viewed it as very important that the abortion views of nominees to the nation’s highest court were consistent with their own.


Again, those who identify as pro-choice are more likely than their pro-life counterparts to feel most strongly. A 58% majority of pro-choice Americans consider it very important that nominees’ abortion stance be the same as their own, compared with 45% of pro-life U.S. adults who say the same. In 2005, when abortion was legal nationwide, the opposite was true, with 53% of pro-life and 37% of pro-choice Americans saying it was very important.

Majority of Americans Identifying as Pro-Choice Has Become the New Normal

At the same time that pro-choice voters are showing record intensity on the abortion issue, the pro-choice segment of the American public remains historically large.

Currently, 54% of U.S. adults identify as pro-choice on the issue, continuing the pattern of majority-level support for the position seen since the Dobbs decision was leaked, including 55% in the initial post-Dobbs reading in May 2022. That was the highest pro-choice share Gallup had measured since 1995 and the first time since 2006 that more than half of Americans were in the pro-choice camp on this measure. It has not fallen below that threshold since.

Meanwhile, 41% of Americans now identify as pro-life, similar to the 39% to 44% levels recorded since the Dobbs leak but in contrast with the average 46% in the decade and half before it.


Americans Favor Legal Abortion, Say It Is Morally Acceptable

Americans have also become more likely to think abortion should be broadly legal and more tolerant of the morality of abortion in recent years.

On the legality questions, the public has been trending in favor of abortion rights since 2021, when the percentage saying it should be legal under any circumstances registered above 30% for the first time in nearly three decades. It has since ticked up further to today’s 35%, exceeding the 1992 record high by one point. Offsetting this, the percentage saying abortion should be illegal in all cases has declined by seven points, from 19% in 2021 to 12%, tying the record lows from 1990 and 1995. Meanwhile, most respondents, now 50%, have consistently said abortion should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”


Since 1994, Gallup has asked Americans who hold the middle position on abortion to say whether they think it should be legal in most or only a few circumstances. In all years through 2021, their answers leaned strongly toward the “only a few” side, resulting in a majority of Americans favoring more restrictive laws on abortion, either saying it should be legal in only a few circumstances or illegal in all.

In the wake of the Dobbs draft leak in 2022, however, combined support for the more restrictive positions fell to 45%, while the percentage saying abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances rose to 53%. Although the two broad sides were tied last year, the positions in favor of expansive abortion rights are again the majority, at 51% today, while 45% prefer more restrictive rights.


Gallup’s full trends on Americans’ views about the legality of abortion and whether they identify as pro-choice or pro-life are shown by gender, age and partisanship on the following pages:

Similar to the legality trend, Americans’ views on the morality of abortion have flipped from more viewing it as morally wrong than morally acceptable in most years since 2001, with only a few instances when these positions were tied. By contrast, since 2022, a majority of U.S. adults have said abortion is morally acceptable, with 54% holding that view today.


Tables showing various demographic groups’ latest views on the abortion label, legality and morality questions are provided on the following pages:

Changed U.S. Abortion Views Post Dobbs Driven by Democrats

Across all three trends, the shift toward more public support for abortion rights has occurred exclusively among Democrats, while the views of Republicans and independents are statistically unchanged.

  • Since 2021, Gallup’s last measure on these metrics before the Dobbs draft was leaked, the percentage of Democrats identifying as pro-choice has increased 16 points, from 70% to 86%, while just under a quarter of Republicans and a slight majority of independents have been pro-choice.
  • Democrats have also become 15 points more likely to think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, rising to 65%. Meanwhile, 12% of Republicans and 30% of independents, similar to the 2021 figures, hold this view.
  • Democrats’ views have changed the most on the morality question, with the percentage considering abortion morally acceptable rising 19 points to 83%. This contrasts with a steady quarter of Republicans and about half of independents feeling this way.

Six in 10 Americans Back Legality of Abortion Pill

The poll also measured public support for allowing an abortion pill, known as mifepristone, to be available in the country as a prescription drug. Sixty-one percent of adults approve, similar to the 63% measured last year. This is more support than the drug received in 2000, when 50% of Americans favored the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s initial approval of the pill -- then known as RU-486 -- as a prescription drug.

Although mifepristone received federal approval in 2000, it wasn’t until 2021 that the FDA lifted a requirement that the drug be dispensed to patients in person, opening the way for mail-order prescriptions. However, that access -- particularly important to women in states that have since outlawed abortion -- is now threatened by a 2023 federal circuit court decision limiting when and how the drug can be prescribed. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on that decision this month.

Having mifepristone available as a prescription drug is favored by 64% of women and 58% of men. While only a third of Republicans (32%) are in favor, it is backed by a majority of independents (61%) and most Democrats (87%).


The electoral repercussions of being an avowed “pro-choice” or “pro-life” candidate for higher office have changed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Before the decision, pro-life candidates had a marginal advantage in voters prioritizing the issue in their vote choices. Since the decision, pro-choice candidates have jumped way ahead on this metric.

Since the movement on this has mainly occurred within the Democratic Party, there is limited potential for heightened pro-choice energy to attract new voters to its candidates, including President Joe Biden. However, Democrats stand to benefit in November if it compels more pro-choice than pro-life voters to go to the polls.

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