New polling data released by Republicans For Choice suggests that most self-identified Republicans are actually in favor of abortion rights.
The omnibus poll was conducted by TNS, an independent research firm which conducts weekly phone polls, according to a Republicans for Choice press release. The poll asked, regardless of respondents’ personal feelings about abortion, whether “the woman, family, and her doctor [should] make the decision or the government [should] make the decision.”
Seventy-one percent of self-identified Republicans said they “strongly” felt that the woman, her family, and her doctor should make the call. Another 10 percent said they believed the same thing, but “not strongly.” Only three percent of Republicans strongly felt that government should be able to make the decision about abortion.
For Republicans for Choice chair Ann Stone, the poll teaches two lessons. Firstly, she wants to see Republican policies reflect the views of the party’s constituents. Secondly, Stone says, labels of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are misleading and do little to reveal people’s political opinions. “National pollsters need to stop using self-labeling to gauge true sentiment on the issue of choice,” she says. “These labels have lost their meaning.”
In a Gallup poll earlier this year, 72 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of the general population identified as “pro-life”; the number of Americans who identified as “pro-choice” hit a record low.
But respondents’ opinions on policy issues around abortion had not drastically changed from previous years. Just over half of Americans think abortion should be “legal under certain” circumstances, only 2 percent more people than last year. Meanwhile, 25 percent of Americans (compared to 27 percent in 2011) said abortion should be legal in all circumstances, and 20 percent (22 percent in 2011) said the procedure should always be illegal.