Links for February 19-25, 2023 | Americans in most states support legal abortions; New graphs for showing polling uncertainty at PBS; And evidence of economic voting from the 1790s
These fuzzy bars need more fuzz!
Happy Saturday, all
This is my weekly post for paid subscribers discussing recent uses of political data that I think are interesting and worth discussing. Comments are welcome below — and if you enjoy this, please share it with a friend!
1. A supermajority of adults, including 40% of Republicans, want abortion to be legal in most or all cases
The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade last summer has turned into one of the biggest political liabilities of recent memory. For instance, according to the exit poll, abortion was the most important issue among Pennsylvania voters during last year’s midterm elections — and voters in the state were significantly more pro-Democratic than expected. In the exit poll, over 60% of PA voters said abortion should mostly be legal.
This week, a new poll from the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that voters in most states feel similarly. According to their survey 65% of Americans, including 87% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans, agree that “abortion should be legal in all or most cases.” In contrast, 7% of all adults (14% of Republicans and 3% of Democrats) think the procedure should be illegal in all cases. That marks a substantial increase in support of legal abortion rights among Republicans.
PRRI’s massive survey also lets researchers break support for abortion down by state. They write:
Majorities of residents in 43 states and the District of Columbia say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, and in 13 of those states and in DC, more than seven in ten residents support legal abortion. There are only seven states in which less than half of residents say abortion should be legal in most or all cases: South Dakota (42%), Utah (42%), Arkansas (43%), Oklahoma (45%), Idaho (49%), Mississippi (49%), and Tennessee (49%). Residents of nearly all states have become more likely to say abortion should be legal in most or all cases since PRRI’s last state-level data analysis, in 2018.
And here’s the chart:
Notably, there is not a majority in favor of overturning Roe v Wade in any state:
Ahead of the 2024 presidential primary and general election, it is worth taking stock of which Americans say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their opinion on abortion. According to the PRRI data, 30% of Republicans who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases say candidates must pass the same litmus test; 34% of pro-choice Democrats, on the other hand, say the same thing. Changes here since 2020 are interesting: As federal abortion policy has become more restrictive and the status quo more unpopular, fewer Republicans place a priority on candidates sharing their values:
This is an important report. Abortion policy in America is not set nationally. Most national polls of adults are thus of limited utility. Measures of state-level opinion are crucial for analysts gauging how the issue will shape politics and elections in the future.
2. Americans want a debt-ceiling compromise (and I want more of these PBS/NPR poll charts)
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