• Polling

Most Americans Oppose the Texas Abortion Ban

Thursday, September 16, 2021 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways

  • A majority of Americans identify as “pro-choice” and feel abortion rights are at risk nationally.
  • Majorities oppose the Texas abortion law and are most concerned about the law’s lack of exceptions, its deputizing of civilians to enforce the law, and the possibility of increased illegal, unsafe abortions that may result from it.
  • Biden and Democrats are more trusted to handle issues related to abortion and reproductive healthcare than Republicans.

Texas Abortion Law Getting Nearly as Much Attention as the Delta Variant

Three in five are hearing “a lot” about the Delta variant, followed by nearly half who are hearing about the Texas law.

  • Viewers of Fox News are the least likely to be hearing “a lot” about the Texas abortion law compared to consumers of other news sources.

Majority of Americans Identify as “Pro-Choice” and Say Abortion Should Be Legal in All or Most Cases

The share of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” has increased 5 points since June of 2019, driven largely by a 9- point increase among Republicans (from 29% to 38%).

Three in Five Say Abortion Rights Are at Risk Nationally

On a separate question, a plurality of Americans feel that the right to an abortion in their own state is at risk (44%).

Framing the Texas Abortion Law as the Nation’s Most Restrictive Increases Opposition Even More

While a majority oppose the Texas abortion law when framed as a law that “bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy,” when framing it also as the “nation’s most restrictive,” net opposition grows 8 points (from +18 to +26).

Americans View Texas Abortion Law as Attack on Women’s Rights

When asked to describe their reaction to the new abortion ban in Texas, many say they feel the law is an attack on women’s rights and an attempt by men in Texas to control women’s bodies; when asked to choose between descriptors of the law, nearly half say it takes “away women’s rights and freedoms.”

Half of Americans “Strongly Oppose” Deputizing Private Citizens to Enforce the Texas Abortion Law

Half of Americans “strongly oppose” deputizing private citizens to enforce this law, including 43% of independents.

Lack of Exceptions, Civilian Enforcement, and Possibility of Increased Illegal Abortions Are Most Concerning

Across party lines, lack of exceptions for illness, rape, or incest in the new law are most concerning for Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

Statements Focused on Undermining Right to Abortion and Dangers of Civilian Enforcement Are Both Compelling

Progressive responses to supporters of the Texas abortion ban that focus on the law’s undermining of Roe v. Wade and on deputizing citizens to enforce the law are both effective.

A Majority Would Be Less Favorable to an Elected Official Who Supported a Law Like the Texas Abortion Ban

Nearly half of independents (47%) and more than one in four Republicans (26%) say they would be less favorable to an elected official who supported a law like the Texas abortion ban.

In Wake of Texas Ban, Support Is Strong for Congress to Pass Legislation to Federally Protect Abortion Rights

While almost three in five Americans support Congress passing legislation to ensure abortion rights are federally protected, two in five “strongly support.”

A Plurality Say Texas Law Is Proof SCOTUS Has Become Too Extreme and Support Adding Seats to Balance the Court

Among independents, 61% agree more with Democrats who would add seats to the Court than with Republicans.

Biden and Democrats Much More Trusted on Issues Related to Abortion and Reproductive Healthcare

Among independents, Biden and Democrats are more trusted by 35 points to protect the right to abortion, 20 points to protect reproductive healthcare, and 3 points to handle the issue of abortion.

About The Study

This release features findings from a national online survey of 995 registered voters conducted September 9-13, 2021. Additional interviews were conducted among 100 Hispanic voters, 100 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 79 Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org