The stable social issue

Gallup is out with it’s latest polling on abortion and the interesting thing to me is just how stable this has been when you consider how much American society has changed on other social issues (e.g., gay rights, marijuana).  Here’s the key chart:

Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?

And the Gallup summary:

In contrast with public support for gay rights — more specifically, same-sex marriage — which has grown in recent years, Americans’ views on abortion have been remarkably steady. Not only have attitudes changed little in the past year, but they also have been broadly steady over the past decade, spanning three presidential elections. While Americans are a bit more likely to call abortion morally acceptable today than they were in 2004, 2008 and 2012, the percentage calling themselves “pro-choice” is similar to what Gallup found in those years. The overall stability provides a predictable political environment for candidates. Additionally, as Gallup reported previously, the 20% of Americans saying they will vote only for a candidate who agrees with them on abortion has also remained steady, with pro-life voters slightly more likely than pro-choice voters to say the issue is critical to their vote.

Yep.  There’s a really good political science paper needing to be done on the stability of abortion in contrast to the dynamism of other social issues.  Somebody should work on that.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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