By Margarita Nahapetyan
The most recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that the number of Americans, and most of them men, who support legalized abortion, has dropped by 8 per cent since last August.
According to the report, currently, 43 per cent of American male population say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 46 per cent think that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. In August 2008, the majority of men surveyed reported that abortion should be legal than illegal, by the proportion 53 per cent to 42 per cent. The change among women has not been very noticeable, with 49 per cent thinking that abortion should be legalized in most or all cases, down from 54 per cent since last summer.
Individuals with the age over than 50 years - both male and female - expressed less support for legal abortion this year compared to one year ago. Only 40 per cent of men over 50 said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases compared with 53 per cent of the supporters last year. Support for legal abortion among women older than 50 years of age has dropped from 53 per cent to 45 per cent.
There has been insignificant change in opinions among women younger than 50 years - 53 per cent said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, which has been 55 per cent last summer. Support for legalized abortion has fallen since last spring among men under the age of 50 years, from 53 per cent in April 2008 to 45 per cent presently. Between August and late October 2008, the proportion of individuals who actively supported legal abortion ranged from 57 per cent in mid-October to 53 per cent in late October, before dropping to 46 per cent at present time.
There has been a significant fall in the proportion of independent individuals saying that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. The majority of independents expressed their support for legal abortion last summer as well as in the two October polls, but only 44 per cent of the surveyors do so currently. What is even more, the proportion of moderate and liberal Republicans who say that abortion should be legal, has fallen from 67 per cent last August to 57 per cent in late October. In the new survey, just 43 per cent of moderate and liberal Republicans reported that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
When broken down by religion, it was found that mainline Protestants expressed a 15 per cent decrease in abortion support since August, dropping to 54 per cent from 69 per cent support. The 33 per cent support for abortion from evangelical Protestants fell by 10 per cent in August and mid-October to 23 per cent in late October. Among non-Hispanic Catholics, 49 per cent favored abortion, down from 51 per cent in August and 55 per cent in October.
The change has been less noticeable among white non-Hispanic Catholic individuals. Last August, 51 per cent of the respondents said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. In both October surveys, 55 per cent supported the legalization of abortion. In the recent survey, 49 per cent of white non-Hispanic Catholics said that abortion should be legal while 42 per cent consider that it should be illegal.
The survey was conducted March 31-April 21 among 1,521 adults who were reached on landlines and cell phones.