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Fox News Poll: A record 65 percent favor keeping Roe v. Wade

Two-thirds of voters want to keep the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade in place, according to a new Fox News survey released Thursday.

This comes as the court prepares for its new term, including hearing a case in December concerning a Mississippi abortion law that will challenge the landmark ruling.

The 65 percent opposed to overturning Roe is a record in Fox polling, up from 61 percent last October and barely eclipsing the previous high of 64 percent in June 2019.

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For the first time, over half of Republicans (53 percent) join majorities of Democrats (77 percent) and independents (64 percent) in saying Roe should remain the law of the land. Seven in 10 White Catholics (72 percent) and about half of White evangelical Christians also think the decision should stand (49 percent).

Some 28 percent of voters overall think Roe should be overturned.

Overall views on abortion are divided. Nearly half (49 percent) think abortion should be legal in all (29 percent) or most cases (20 percent), while the other half (49 percent) say it should only be legal in some cases such as rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother (38 percent) — or not at all (11 percent).

The current split is down from more voters supporting legal abortion by an 8-point margin in 2020 and by 4 points in 2019.

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Seven in 10 Democrats support abortion rights in all (46 percent) or most (24 percent) situations, while seven in 10 Republicans believe abortion should never be legal (19 percent) or only legal in some cases (53 percent).

The controversial TexasHeartbeat Bill,” which bans most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected (usually around six weeks into a pregnancy), went into effect September 1.  The law is the first of its kind in the country and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it in a 5-4 decision late that same night.

“It is hard to imagine Texas Republicans won’t face some backlash from passing an abortion law so extreme that its overall substance is supported by just one in 10 Americans, including just two in 10 Republicans.  Not to mention there is more energy among Democrats than Republicans on the issue,” says Democrat Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw.

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“Setting the politics aside, what’s interesting to me is that despite the ethical and religious implications of the issue for many, opinions on abortion tend to be quite nuanced,” says Shaw. “While 40 percent say abortion should always be permitted or never be permitted, about 60 percent prefer some sort of ‘middle-ground’ between the rights of the mother and the rights of the unborn. The question is where to draw that line.”

When asked how concerned they are about abortion policy, about six in 10 voters say “extremely” (36 percent) or “very” (26 percent), with more Democrats (68 percent) than Republicans (59 percent) saying the issue worries them.

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2005 file photo, an anti-abortion supporter stands next to a pro-choice demonstrator outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2005 file photo, an anti-abortion supporter stands next to a pro-choice demonstrator outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(AP)

Other issues are of greater concern to voters, such as inflation/higher prices (82 percent extremely/very concerned), the pandemic (74 percent), Afghanistan (73 percent), unemployment (72 percent), and attacks by Islamic terrorists and non-Islamic terrorists alike (70 percent each).

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Concerns about climate change (63 percent) and illegal immigration (59 percent) rate near abortion policy while fewer worry about neighborhood crime (50 percent).

Conducted September 12-15, 2021 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,002 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a national voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones.  The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

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