The poll marks the first time NARAL asked respondents to distinguish between the morality and legality of abortion, an approach that allows respondents to voice personal objections to abortion but still support access to it. The poll did not include questions about restricting abortion based on the stage of pregnancy or other factors.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner pollster Drew Lieberman said polls that do not make the distinction between morality and legality force people "into artificial categories." He added, "Almost half the population is in the gray area" of having moral objections to abortion while supporting legal access, which is a "pro-choice position."
For the poll, GQR researchers surveyed 800 registered voters.
The poll found that 23% of respondents believe abortion is "morally acceptable and should be legal," while 45% said they are personally against it but believe the government should not restrict access to it. About 25% of respondents said abortion should be illegal.
In addition, the poll found that the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents do not support government restrictions on abortion. Specifically, 84% of Democrats said the government should not limit access, while 53% of Republicans and 66% of independents said the same.
NARAL: Poll Shows Disconnect Among Lawmakers
NARAL Political Director Erika West said the poll's findings show that elected officials are not representing voters' views. Only four in 10 representatives in the House fit NARAL's definition of abortion-rights supporters, she noted.
"People ask why are we losing ground on reproductive freedom, and it's because our elected representatives don't represent our values," she said (Haberkorn, Politico Pro, 8/18).