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Three in Five Americans View the Republican Party’s Position on Abortion as Extreme

Thursday, October 5, 2023 By Rachael Russell
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Poll: Three in Five See the Republican Party as Extreme on Abortion

This Navigator Research report contains polling data on Americans’ latest perceptions of the political parties when it comes to abortion rights, including whether Americans’ describe the parties’ stance on abortion as extreme, and the believability of characterizations of each parties’ stance on abortion.

Nearly three in five Americans say the Republican Party’s position on abortion is extreme.


By a 31-point margin, Americans describe the Republican Party’s position on abortion as extreme (58 percent extreme – 27 percent not extreme), including independents by 30 points (50 percent extreme – 20 percent not extreme), and a third of Republicans who say the same (net -16; 35 percent extreme – 51 percent not extreme). At least three in five women (60 percent), Americans living in a 2024 presidential battleground state (61 percent), and Americans under the age of 35 (63 percent) say Republicans’ position on abortion is extreme. 

  • Far fewer Americans say that Democrats are extreme on the issue of abortion (net -1; 42 percent extreme – 43 percent not extreme), with independents nearly split evenly between believing they are extreme, not extreme, or unsure (38 percent extreme – 30 percent not extreme – 32 percent unsure).

Most Americans believe the GOP would make abortion illegal, but they’re less sure about Donald Trump.


Nearly three in four Americans think the Republican Party believes abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (73 percent), with nearly half who say Republicans believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (45 percent). A majority of independents believe Republicans think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (52 percent), though more than a third say they don’t know where Republicans stand (36 percent).

  • Donald Trump’s perceived position on abortion is less clear: a majority of Americans say they think Trump believes abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (56 percent), with 28 percent saying he believes abortion should be illegal under any circumstance, and 29 percent unsure. A plurality of independents say Trump believes abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (47 percent), but nearly two in five say they don’t know (38 percent). 
  • Seven in ten Americans say the Democratic Party believes abortion should be legal in all or most cases (71 percent), including four in five Democrats (80 percent), two in three Republicans (68 percent), and a majority of independents (52 percent).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Most Say the GOP Stands for Making Abortion Illegal in All/Most Cases, Similar Majority Believe the Same About Trump

Calling out Republicans’ extreme views on abortion is more convincing than claims that Democrats support abortion up until birth.


Americans find it more convincing that “Republicans are making up lies about where Democrats stand on abortion because their own views are so extreme, like banning abortion before most women know they are pregnant with no exceptions for rape or incest” over the claim that “Democrats support abortion up until birth” (63 percent progressive argument – 37 percent conservative argument), including more than two in three independents (68 percent) and a third of Republicans (34 percent) who agree more with the progressive argument. In an alternative version, the progressive argument earned the same share of support when framed as “Republicans are making up lies about where Democrats stand on abortion, when in reality, most Democrats support restrictions later on in pregnancy with exceptions for extreme cases” against the same conservative argument (63 percent progressive argument – 37 percent conservative argument). In a split-sample, respondents were asked how convincing statements were on the parties’ stance on abortion, as well as whether the statements were true or false. More than seven in ten believed every statement was true, while more than three in five found each convincing, including that:

  • Republicans have always opposed Roe v. Wade and abortion rights: they fought for decades to overturn it, and will continue that fight at the state level (85 percent found this true, 63 percent found this convincing);
  • Democrats believe we should avoid one-size-fits-all policies and continue to ensure that any decision about having an abortion is made by the patient and their doctor, not politicians and the government (79 percent found this true, 67 percent found this convincing);
  • Republicans will ban abortion nationwide if they win a majority in Congress and the White House, while most Democrats support the right to an abortion (77 percent found this true, 67 percent found this convincing);
  • Democratic-led states across the country continue to protect abortion access, but also already have restrictions to ensure that abortion later in pregnancy only happens in serious circumstances, such as threats to the health or life of the woman or severe fetal anomalies (74 percent found this true, 67 percent found this convincing); 
  • Republicans say Democrats support abortion up until birth, but the reality is that abortion later in pregnancy happens only in serious circumstances, like threats to the health or life of the woman or severe fetal anomalies (72 percent found this true, 62 percent found this convincing). 
Focus group report slide titled: The Most Effective Messages Focus on Protecting Abortion Rights and Keeping Decisions Between Patients and Doctors

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About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from September 21-September 25, 2023. 105 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 75 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 104 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 102 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.

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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