• Polling

One Year Since The Decision Overturning Roe Leaked, Trust In The Supreme Court Has Plummeted

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 By Bryan Bennett
Activists protest in front of the Supreme Court after the Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v Wade and curtail abortion rights.
Download Full Report
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
  • By a two-to-one margin, more Americans say eliminating Roe has been bad for the country one year after a draft of the Dobbs decision leaked.
  • Three in four Republicans believe their party wants abortion to be illegal in all or most cases – in tension with the two in five Republicans who believe it should be legal.
  • Prescription abortion medication and Congressional legislation to protect abortion rights are broadly popular, while a series of proposed restrictions are deeply unpopular.

After One Year, Americans Believe Rolling Back Abortion Rights Was a “Bad Decision” By a Two-to-One Margin

By large margins, Democrats (net -58 good for the country) and independents (net -29) say the decision was bad for the country. 

  • Republicans are split, with nearly as many saying the decision was bad for the country (44%) as say it was good (45%). • Nearly one in three Americans who say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (31%) say the decision was bad for the country. 

The Share of Americans Who Say Abortion Should Be Legal in All or Most Cases Has Grown Since Last July

By a net 28-point margin, Americans say that abortion should be legal in “all” or “most” cases, compared to a net 22-point margin in early May 2022, right after a draft of the Dobbs decision leaked from the Supreme Court.

Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood Continue to Have Significant Appeal, Even Among Nearly Half of Republicans

About two in five Republicans express favorable views of Roe v. Wade (41% favorable), and nearly half (45%) express favorable views of Planned Parenthood, both of which are improvements since the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision last July. 

  • Improvements among Republicans are also larger than changes among Democrats and independents during the same time period.

Ongoing Assaults on Abortion Rights Have Kept the Issue on Americans’ Minds

Three in five Democrats report hearing “a lot” or “some” about the Texas ruling suspending the FDA’s approval of prescription abortion medication and Florida’s six-week ban (60% and 61%, respectively), as nearly as many pro-choice Americans say the same (58% and 57%).

Biden and Democrats Are More Trusted on a Range of Issues Related to Abortion, Especially “Protecting Rights”

Americans trust Biden and the Democratic Party much more than the Republican Party on “protecting the right to abortion” (net +41 Biden and Democrats overall, an increase of 13 points since last May) as independents trust Democrats much more on “protecting the right to abortion” (net +37) than “abortion” more generally (net +12). 

A Growing Share Believe the GOP Wants Abortion to Be Illegal

Since May of 2022, there has been an 8-point increase in the share who think the Republican Party’s position on abortion is that it should be illegal in all or most cases (from net -56 legal to net -64 legal).

  • One in three independents do not know enough to say on either the Democrats’ position (34%) or the Republicans’ (31%).

A Third of Republicans Place Their Party’s Position on Abortion to the Right of Their Own

While 40% of Republicans say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, just 14% of Republicans say that is the party’s position. • Nearly as many Republicans say the Republican Party is to their right on abortion (34%) as say the party shares their views (40%).

Three in Five Disapprove of How Republicans Are Handling Abortion

Independents disapprove of how Republicans are handling the issue of abortion by a near 50-point margin (17% approve/66% disapprove).

  • A majority of Republicans and independents who support legal abortion (54%) also disapprove.

Specific Policies Protecting Abortion Access Are Widely Popular, Restrictions Widely Unpopular

Independents support “allowing women to legally use prescription abortion medication” (net +41 support) and “legislation to protect abortion access nationwide” (net +29), but strongly oppose banning abortions “before most women know they are pregnant” (net -57).

  • Republicans and independents who support legal abortion much more strongly oppose banning abortions “before most women know they are pregnant” (net -65 support) than “banning abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy” (net -24).

Americans From Across the Political Spectrum Are Very Concerned By the Real-Life Impacts of Dobbs

Around half of Republicans say they are very concerned by accounts of a 10-year-old rape victim being denied an abortion (51% very concerning) as well as women who suffered miscarriages being denied abortions.

Nearly Half of Americans Once Again Hold Unfavorable Views of the Supreme Court

The share of Americans who rate the Court favorably has declined from 56% in September 2021 (in line with 55% favorable in June 2019) to 44% today, while the share with unfavorable views has climbed from 33% to 48% over the same period.

Trust in the Supreme Court Has Eroded Since April of Last Year Before Dobbs Was Leaked

Just half of Americans say they trust the Supreme Court “a lot” or “somewhat” to make the right decisions in the future, down from the three in five who said the same in April 2022 (60%). Greatest declines have happened among Democrats (down from net +26 trust to net -26 trust), Black Americans (down from net +48 to net -10), and Hispanic Americans (down from net +26 to net -20).

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,002 registered voters from April 20-April 24, 2023. 102 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 79 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 105 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 98 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.

Like the info here?

Get it directly in your inbox when new polls are released.

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