Poll: only 12 percent of voters primarily motivated by abortion



Only about 12 percent of voters said abortion is the most important issue for them in the 2024 election, according to a new KFF survey, but those voters are largely young, Democratic and think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.  

The 12 percent figure is a drop from the midterm elections, where a similar KFF survey found about a quarter of all voters said abortion was the most important issue. Still, the poll found half of voters said abortion is “very important” but not the “most important” issue. 

The survey also showed partisans seemed to support their party’s candidate regardless of their abortion views.  

Republicans who said abortion should be illegal were more likely to think abortion is the most important issue than those who believe abortion should be legal.

While 43 percent of Republicans overall said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, half of that group said they trust the Republican Party on abortion more than Democrats.  

Women voters overall said they trust both the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden more on abortion policy in this country, but trust varied depending on partisanship and age.  

Neither candidate nor party had a majority of support from women of reproductive age, the survey found. 

The survey was conducted February 20-28,2024 among 1,316 U.S. adults. 

Overall, only 42 percent of the public said they support a law establishing a 16-week ban on abortion — something that many Republicans say is a moderate compromise policy and one Trump is reportedly contemplating.  

A majority of Republicans support a federal 16-week abortion ban, but 75 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents oppose one. 

In addition, the survey found most of the public opposes many of the policies anti-abortion groups are advocating for aimed at restricting or banning medication abortion, such as making it a crime for health care provider to mail medication abortion to patients living in states where abortions are banned or banning the use of medication abortion nationwide. 

In the two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, there’s been a shift in voters who say abortion is the most important issue. They are disproportionately made up of Black voters, Democratic voters, women voters and voters ages 18 to 29. 

In the elections prior to the Dobbs decision, abortion voters were largely those who opposed it.  

Ashley Kirzinger, director of KFF’s survey methodology and associate director of the Public Opinion and Survey Research Program, said abortion seems to be a motivator among the Democratic base, but it isn’t likely to convince pro-abortion Republicans to vote for Democrats. 

“Republican voters seem to have no problem being pro-abortion and voting for former President Trump,” Kirzinger said. 

Most Republican women voters said they trust Trump and the Republican Party to move abortion policy “in the right direction,” but one in five said they don’t trust either candidate or they don’t trust either party. 

Trump has also seemed to escape responsibility for ending Roe.  

While Trump has taken credit for the Dobbs decision, 56 percent of Republican voters who want abortion to be legal said Trump had “just a little” or “no responsibility” in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

On the other hand, more than half of Republican voters who want abortion to be illegal said he has at least some responsibility. 

“That Trump phenomenon that he can seemingly do no wrong among his supporters holds true on the issue of abortion,” Kirzinger said. “Not only do they trust him more to move abortion policy in the right direction than then Biden, but they also don’t necessarily tie him directly to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe.” 


2024 Election Coverag


Democrats think reproductive rights are a winning issue and have been working to highlight ways they are expanding access. They also are trying to show the threat Republicans represent to those rights.  

In the 2022 midterms, Democrats were able to maintain control of the Senate and Republicans barely held onto the House, results that were broadly seen as a referendum on the toppling of Roe. 

Democrats then rode the abortion issue to a series of election victories in Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky in 2023. 

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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