Health

As Supreme Court Weighs the Future of Abortion, 2 in 5 Voters Say They Expect Roe v. Wade Will Be Overturned

High court is expected to rule on Mississippi abortion law this summer

Supporters of abortion rights hold signs during a rally at the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, D.C., as oral arguments were delivered over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. A Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 40 percent of voters said the high court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, up from 26 percent in May 2019. (Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Voters are much more likely today than in 2019 to say the future is grim for Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that established the constitutional right to an abortion, according to new Morning Consult/Politico data.

What you need to know

  • A 40 percent plurality of voters said the high court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, up from 26 percent who said the same in a May 2019 survey. While both Democrats and Republicans are more likely now than they were in 2019 to say the court will reverse the ruling, the former saw a much bigger uptick than the latter: 20 percentage points compared with 5 points.
  • Overall, 45 percent of voters said they think Roe should be upheld, while roughly 1 in 4 said the ruling should be reversed. Republicans were divided, with 37 percent in favor of overturning the decision, 31 percent in favor of leaving it in place and 32 percent saying they don’t know or have no opinion.
  • The findings come days after the Supreme Court appeared to signal that it will uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and as it speeds its review of a Texas law that bans nearly all abortions. Even if the high court’s conservative majority upholds the Mississippi law, though, it’s not clear whether justices will explicitly strike down Roe.
  • Rolling back Roe would remove federal abortion protections and allow states to set their own policies, but in the meantime, some are continuing to carve out restrictions. Last week, for example, a Texas law went into place to strengthen the punishment for providers who prescribe pills for medication abortion through telehealth or the mail.

What you need to know

  • Political divides over abortion have been well-documented, but overall, neither Democrats nor Republicans view the issue in absolutes. Three in 10 Republicans, for example, said abortion should be legal in some or all cases, while 21 percent of Democrats said the procedure should always or sometimes be illegal.
  • Further, when asked to consider political candidates for the 2022 midterm elections, 37 percent of Democrats said it was more important to vote for a candidate who agrees with their abortion stance even if they disagree on other issues, while 32 percent of Republicans said the same.
  • The Supreme Court isn’t likely to rule on the Mississippi case until June, right as the 2022 election season ramps up.

 

The surveys were conducted May 17-19, 2019, and Dec. 4-6, 2021, among 1,995 and 2,000 registered voters, respectively, with margins of error of 2 percentage points. Morning Consult’s weighting for voters was adjusted in June 2021 to account for homeownership, marital status and 2020 vote choice.