Abortion has emerged as an issue in the 2012 presidential race, following Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s controversial comments about abortion and “legitimate rape.” In recent years, narrow majorities of the public have consistently said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The Democratic Party is widely favored over the GOP on the issue of abortion. At the same time, however, abortion is viewed as a much more important issue by voters opposed to legal abortion than by its supporters.
Both Parties Are Divided. Pew Research Center polls conducted over the past two years find that most Democrats (65%) say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases; most Republicans (57%) say it should be illegal in all or most cases.
Republicans are divided over the extent to which abortion should be illegal: 22% say it should be illegal in all cases while 35% say it should be illegal in most cases.
There is no consensus among Democrats either: 26% say abortion should be legal in all cases and 39% in most cases.
Read the full report, The Complicated Politics of Abortion, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.