According to a Gallup Poll released on Wednesday, a strikingly low number of Americans–now down to only 41%–describe themselves as pro-choice. To put it in perspective, this number was at 56% in 1996. Frustratingly for those who wish to talk about the issues of “abortion and same sex marriage” as if they are a monolith, support for abortion choice is energetically moving the opposite direction of support for same sex marriage. This is true especially among young people.
Of particular interest, especially in light of the record number of people describing themselves as neither Democrat or Republican, is the dramatic shift in the views of Independents:
The percentage of political independents identifying as pro-choice is 10 points lower today than in May 2011, while the percentage pro-life is up by six points. As a result, pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among this important swing political group for only the second time since 2001, with the first occurring in 2009.
More broadly, since 2009, independents have been fairly closely divided between the two abortion positions, whereas for most of the 2001-2008 period, significantly more independents were pro-choice than pro-life.