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By Grace Carr
A Gallup poll showed that Americans have been pretty evenly split on abortion for some time, but pro-life advocates have slowly grown their numbers, edging past those in favor of pro-choice views.
Gallup’s May 2017 poll revealed that 43 percent of Americans say abortion is morally acceptable, while 49 percent say it is morally wrong.
Gallup’s 2015 and 2016 annual polls showed that the percentage of pro-life proponents rose, while that of pro-choice advocates fell. The 2017 poll also shows that the number of independent pro-lifers has been increasing since 2001.
The May poll broke down beliefs about abortion by partisan affiliation as well, revealing that the percentage of Democrats who say they are pro-choice has gone from 56 percent in 2001 to 71 percent in 2017. “Americans in all age groups have adopted more liberal views,” the poll revealed, but views on abortion have remained largely unchanged — to the point of becoming more conservative — even as the proportion of self-identified Democrats endorsing abortion has risen.
The fluctuation in percentage numbers between 2009 and 2017 largely reflects the Democratic Party’s conflict over political strategy. Some of its members think that a more moderate stance on social issues like abortion would harness a greater number of votes (particularly white voters that backed President Donald Trump in the 2016 election), while other Democrats argue that no candidate will be elected simply by adopting more independent views.
The 2017 poll was conducted from May 3 to May 7 using a random sample of 1,011 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.