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Regional Divides in Abortion Views Widening, Pew Survey Shows

Regional Divides in Abortion Views Widening, Pew Survey Shows

July 30, 2013 — While nationwide opinion on abortion rights has remained mostly static over the last decade, the gap between views in New England and Southern Central states has widened, according to a Pew Research Center survey, CNN's "Political Ticker" reports.

The poll was conducted from July 17 to July 21 and surveyed 1,480 U.S. adults by telephone nationwide. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points (Steinhauser, "Political Ticker," CNN, 7/29).

The survey found that the South Central region -- comprising Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas -- has become significantly more conservative on the issue, with opposition to abortion rights growing by 12 percentage points since 1995-1996. Fifty-two percent of adults in the region now say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

By contrast, in New England, support for abortion rights grew by five percentage points between a 1995-1996 survey and the most recent results. The regions are now separated by a 35-percentage-point difference in views on whether abortion should be legal (James, "It's All Politics," NPR, 7/30).

Other than the South Central region, the Midwest was the only other area where support for abortion rights significantly decreased -- from 55% to 47%.

The poll also found that in states that ban most abortions at 22 weeks of pregnancy or earlier, 48% of respondents believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. In other states, only 36% of respondents hold that view (Jones, The Atlantic Wire, 7/29).