Four Interesting Findings from PRRI Survey on Americans’ Views on Abortion

The Public Religion Research Institute released a report on the findings of a survey they conducted on the opinions Americans have about whether abortion should be legal.

Overall, 54 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. A similar percentage was recorded in 2014.

Titled “The State of Abortion and Contraception Attitudes in All 50 States” and released Tuesday, the report drew from the 2018 American Values Atlas, a PRRI project, which included 54,357 telephone interviews done between Jan. 3 and Dec. 30, 2018.

For the report, the researchers looked at a subset of 40,292 interviews done for the Atlas between March 14 and Dec. 16 of last year. The margin of error for the subsample is plus or minus 0.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The report looked at questions regarding support or opposition for abortion, analyzing the responses based on recipients’ race, religion, political affiliation, age, and sex.

Here are four interesting findings from the PRRI survey on American opinions on abortion. They include a disparity between Hispanics born in the United States and those born abroad, as well as the absence of a gender gap.

A ‘modest’ gender gap

The PRRI noted that there was little difference in views on abortion between men and women, with both groups being fairly equally divided on the hot-button issue.

“The gender gap is modest,” noted PRRI, explaining that women were only slightly more likely to support abortion legalization than men, with 55 percent of female respondents saying they wanted abortion legal in most or all circumstances, versus 52 percent of men.

“Generally speaking, gender is a less significant driver of attitudes on the legality of abortion than party affiliation and religious affiliation.”

When it came to changing one’s views on abortion, PRRI likewise found little difference between men and women on those numbers.

“As with abortion views generally, there is no substantial gender gap. Roughly the same number of men (10%) and women (11%) have become more supportive of abortion legality, and the same is true for the proportions who have become more opposed (10% men, 9% women),” reported PRRI.

Last December, Pew Research Center also found little difference between men and women when it came to the abortion debate in both the United States and several European countries.

“In Europe, regardless of the overall support for legal abortion, women and men in 27 of the 34 countries surveyed do not differ significantly in their views about whether abortion should be legal,” reported Pew last year.

“For example, roughly three-quarters of women and men in Germany say this (76% and 77%, respectively). The same is true in countries with lower overall support for legal abortion, like Greece, where 45% of both adult men and women say abortion should be legal.”

Hispanics born overseas more pro-life than Hispanics born in the US

The PRRI report found a considerable gap in views on abortion within the Latino community that appeared to be based on country of origin.

While 57 percent of Hispanics born in the United States responded that they believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, only 33 percent of Hispanics born outside of the United States agreed.

“Place of birth also stratifies age groups. More than six in ten (63%) young Hispanics ages 18-29 born in the United States support abortion, compared to just 38% of young Hispanics born outside of the United States,” reported PRRI.

“Among seniors ages 65 and over, 44% of U.S.-born Hispanics favor abortion legality, compared to just under one in three (31%) foreign-born Hispanic seniors.”

PRRI also found that Hispanics were more likely than the general population to believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases (23 percent of Latinos vs. 15 percent of general population) and less likely to believe that abortion should be legal in all cases (19 percent of Latinos vs. 23 percent of general population).

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