Americans are about evenly split on the issue of abortion. The issue is more likely to be a deciding factor in the vote of pro-lifers than pro-choicers, but there are fewer pro-life registered voters.
Forty-seven percent of Americans consider themselves pro-choice and 46 percent consider themselves pro-life, according to Gallup's May 8-11 poll of 1,028 adults.
With a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, the split is too close to say which position has the highest level of support. Since 2009, Lydia Saad wrote for Gallup, abortion attitudes have been "roughly split" with only a few fluctuations.
Pro-lifers, however, demonstrated more intensity in their position. When asked if they only support candidates who share their views on abortion, about one in four, 24 percent, of pro-lifers said they would, compared to only 16 percent for those who identify as pro-choice. Thirty-two percent of pro-choice identifiers said they do not see abortion as a major issue, compared to only 21 percent of those who identify with the pro-life position.
The pro-life intensity advantage in the voting both is diminished, however, by the fact that fewer of them are registered to vote. Among registered voters, 50 percent are pro-choice and 44 percent are pro-life.
When looking at intensity among registered voters, the eight percentage point advantage for pro-lifers shrinks to, within the margin of error, only three percentage points — 11 percent of registered voters say they only vote pro-life and eight percent say they only vote pro-choice.
About two-thirds of Democrats are pro-choice, 28 percent are pro-life. Republicans are essentially the reverse of that — 69 percent are pro-life and 27 percent are pro-choice. Independents, like the full sample, are about evenly split — 46 percent are pro-choice and 45 percent are pro-life.
Regionally, Easterners are the most pro-choice, 59 percent, and Midwesterners and Southerners are the most pro-life, 50 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Westerners were evenly split, 48 percent pro-choice and 47 percent pro-life.
Gallup also found a high level of intensity from the partisans on both sides of the abortion issue. Twenty-four percent of Republican voters and 19 percent of Democratic voters will only vote for candidates who share their views on abortion.
These voters, therefore, are "prime targets for party turnout efforts," Saad wrote. "While their impact could result in a draw on the abortion issue, it is a battle neither party can afford to ignore."