WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Navigator Research released new research on Texas’ new abortion law, Senate Bill 8. News of this bill broke through nationally, with 76 percent of Americans reporting hearing “a lot” (46 percent) or “some” about the law. Fox News viewers were the least likely to hear about the bill. Americans oppose the legislation by an 18-point margin (54 percent), and labeling the bill “the nation’s most restrictive abortion law” increases net opposition by 8 points (from +18 to +26).
A growing majority of Americans identify as “pro-choice,” which has increased by 5 points in Navigator’s tracking since June 2019, driven largely by a 9-point increase among Republicans (from 29 percent to 38 percent).
Several aspects of the law were highly concerning across parties, including the lack of exceptions for illness, rape, or incest. Americans especially oppose the civil enforcement mechanism that “deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who performs or assists with an abortion” — 61 percent of Americans, including more than half of Independents (55 percent) and more than two in five Republicans (43 percent) oppose this provision.
51 percent of Americans say they would be less favorable toward elected officials who support a law like the Texas abortion ban, including nearly half of Independents (47 percent) and even a quarter of Republicans (26 percent).
At the same time, progressive arguments did better than a conservative argument supporting abortion restrictions by a nearly two-to-one margin. Two progressive messages tested on abortion’s 50-year legal precedent and the vigilante enforcement mechanisms both beat back the conservative argument that this law puts reasonable limits in place to protect the unborn by 26-point and 24-point margins, respectively.
“Despite the onslaught of anti-abortion legislation, most Americans support women’s rights and freedoms and see this law as a direct attack,” said Bryan Bennett, Director of Polling & Analytics at the Hub Project. “‘As Americans become more supportive of abortion rights, extreme legislation like the Texas law will continue to draw negative attention to Republicans and have real political consequences. It might even push some voters to look for fundamental changes in the way our courts function.”
For many voters, the Texas law is proof that the Supreme Court has become too conservative. Given the context of SCOTUS’s abortion decision, 56 percent of Americans, including 90 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents, agree more with a statement about court expansion than about the legitimacy of the law. Expanding the Supreme Court is also popular across racial demographics, with more than eight in ten Black Americans (83 percent), 75 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 68 percent of Hispanic Americans, and about half of white Americans (49 percent) agreeing.
View the full report HERE.
About Navigator Research
The Navigator Research project is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates. By conducting research and providing reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press, Navigator helps top leaders in Washington and grassroots leaders around the country shape the debate on the issues that matter most. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.
About This Survey
This release features findings from a survey conducted September 9-13, 2021 of 995 registered voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 79 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters. The survey was conducted online, recruiting respondents from an opt-in online panel vendor. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the national registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables.