Public support for legal abortion in the United States is at a two-year high, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that showed increased support over the past year among both Democrats and Republicans.
The poll was conducted after Robert Lewis Dear Jr. allegedly killed three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility. It showed that about 58 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 51 percent at the beginning of the year.
Those numbers don’t tell the whole story, however. The poll also shows that while about 25 percent of Americans think abortion laws should be “less strict” than they are now, more than one-third believe they should be “stricter.”
Here’s the breakdown by political party, as reported by the AP: About 76 percent of Democratic poll respondents think abortion should be legal all or most of the time, up slightly from 69 percent at the beginning of 2015. Fifty-four percent of independents believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, up from 43 percent in January, along with 40 percent of Republicans, up from 35 percent at the start of 2015.
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The abortion polling comes amid a wave of anti-choice rhetoric that many reproductive rights advocates believe has caused an uptick in abortion clinic violence, including the deadly shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. The spike in clinic violence follows the release of deceptively edited videos by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress.
The poll shows more Americans have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood than unfavorable—45 percent to 30 percent, respectively. About 25 percent of respondents said they didn’t have enough information to decide either way.
As with any poll about abortion, the numbers may not be reflective of views on the medical procedure. Broad language like “in all circumstances” can lead to different answers than if respondents were given specific situations. As Amanda Marcotte wrote for Rewire regarding a recent CNN poll:
CNN is probably not measuring people’s feelings about abortion itself so much as measuring their ability to trust women to make these decisions on their own. And it appears that slightly more than half of people do not trust women and women alone with this decision.
The margin of error for the AP-GfK poll is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
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