CommentaryAugust 22, 2012

The Complicated Politics of Abortion

Abortion has emerged as an issue in the 2012 presidential race, following Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments about abortion and “legitimate rape.” In recent years, narrow majorities of the public have consistently said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The Democratic Party is widely favored over the GOP […]

PublicationsApril 25, 2012

More Support for Gun Rights, Gay Marriage than in 2008 or 2004

Opinions about a pair of contentious social issues, gun control and gay marriage, have changed substantially since previous presidential campaigns. On gun control, Americans have become more conservative; on gay marriage, they have become more liberal. Currently, 49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, […]

Multi-section ReportsMarch 3, 2011

Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High

The public remains deeply frustrated with the federal government, but fewer Americans say they are angry at government than did so last fall. Overall, the percentage saying they are angry with the federal government has fallen from 23% last September to 14% today, with much of the decline coming among Republicans and Tea Party […]

PublicationsSeptember 17, 2010

Few Say Religion Shapes Immigration, Environment Views

Many Americans continue to say their religious beliefs have been highly influential in shaping their views about social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage. But far fewer cite religion as a top influence on their opinions about several other social and political issues, including how the government should deal with immigration, the environment and […]

PublicationsNovember 19, 2009

Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition

While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation under consideration by Congress. When health care opponents are asked in an open-ended question to describe their main reason for […]

PublicationsOctober 1, 2009

Support For Abortion Slips

Polls conducted in 2009 have found fewer Americans expressing support for abortion than in previous years. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents; now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or […]

PublicationsApril 30, 2009

Public Takes Conservative Turn on Gun Control, Abortion

Public attitudes on a pair of contentious national issues – gun control and abortion – have moved in a more conservative direction over the past year. In both cases, the changes have been driven in part by relatively large shifts among men, while opinions among women have not changed very much. For the first […]

PublicationsSeptember 6, 2007

Clinton and Giuliani Seen as Not Highly Religious; Romney’s Religion Raises Concerns

Summary of Findings So far religion is not proving to be a clear-cut positive in the 2008 presidential campaign. The candidates viewed by voters as the least religious among the leading contenders are the current frontrunners for the Democratic and Republican nominations — Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, respectively. On the other hand, the candidate […]

CommentaryMay 16, 2007

Deconstructing the Debate 5/15/07

PublicationsJanuary 22, 2007

Broad Support for Political Compromise in Washington

Summary of Findings A survey conducted in association with National Public Radio A large majority of the American public thinks the country is more politically polarized than in the past, and an even greater number expresses a strong desire for political compromise. Fully three-quarters say they like political leaders who are willing to compromise, compared […]

PublicationsAugust 3, 2006

Pragmatic Americans Liberal and Conservative on Social Issues

Summary of Findings Americans cannot be easily characterized as conservative or liberal on today’s most pressing social questions. The public’s point of view varies from issue to issue. They are conservative in opposing gay marriage and gay adoption, liberal in favoring embryonic stem cell research and a little of both on abortion. Along with favoring […]

PublicationsMarch 22, 2006

Less Opposition to Gay Marriage, Adoption and Military Service

Summary of Findings Public acceptance of homosexuality has increased in a number of ways in recent years, though it remains a deeply divisive issue. Half of Americans (51%) continue to oppose legalizing gay marriage, but this number has declined significantly from 63% in February 2004, when opposition spiked following the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision and […]

PublicationsJanuary 5, 2006

Strong Public Support for Right to Die

Summary of Findings An overwhelming majority of the public supports laws that give patients the right to decide whether they want to be kept alive through medical treatment. And fully 70% say there are circumstances when patients should be allowed to die, while just 22% believe that doctors and nurses should always do everything possible […]

PublicationsNovember 8, 2005

Alito Viewed Positively, But Libby Takes a Toll

Summary of Findings President George W. Bush’s approval ratings have fallen to another new low, amid a growing focus on alleged ethical lapses in his administration. Just 36% now believe that Bush has lived up to his campaign pledge to restore integrity to the White House. In contrast, fully 79% of Americans say the recent […]

CommentaryNovember 2, 2005

Public Opinion Supports Alito on Spousal Notification Even as It Favors Roe v. Wade

Of all the opinions that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has handed down during 15 years on the federal bench, the one drawing the most attention since his nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court is his support in a 1991 case for a provision in a Pennsylvania law that required women, with few […]

CommentaryOctober 3, 2005

Abortion, the Court and the Public

The confirmation hearings for Harriet Miers to become a justice of the Supreme Court will once again highlight a complex web of issues related to abortion, on which she may become the swing vote. While activists on both sides describe abortion as an issue on which there is no middle ground, decades of polling have […]

PublicationsAugust 3, 2005

Abortion and Rights of Terror Suspects Top Court Issues

Summary of Findings Abortion has dominated the early skirmishing over President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But the public takes a more expansive view of the court’s agenda. Indeed, about as many Americans rate the rights of detained terrorist suspects as a very important issue for the Supreme Court as say […]

CommentaryJuly 1, 2005

Abortion Wild Card In Battle Over O’Connor’s Successor

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s decision to step down from the Supreme Court sets up a possible next chapter in the nation’s culture wars. If the debate over O’Connor’s replacement turns into a referendum on Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a woman’s right to abortion, the argument is likely to galvanize a significant […]

PublicationsJune 15, 2005

Supreme Court’s Image Declines as Nomination Battle Looms

Summary of Findings With an aging Supreme Court possibly facing major changes, the court’s public image has eroded significantly. Currently, 57% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, with 30% expressing an unfavorable view. In the past, favorable views of the court typically surpassed 70%; even in January 2001, shortly after the […]

CommentaryApril 23, 2004

Abortion a More Powerful Issue for Women

Public divisions over access to abortion are long-standing, and have changed only slightly over the past two decades. Currently, 58% say they oppose making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, while 36% are in favor of further restrictions. This is virtually unchanged from polling conducted in the early 1990s. In 1987, […]