Mar 7, 2024 - Health

1 in 8 voters rank abortion as top issue: poll

Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

About 1 in 8 voters say abortion is the top factor influencing how they'll vote in the 2024 elections, with the issue resonating particularly with Black and Democratic women and those ages 18 to 49, a new KFF tracking poll finds.

Why it matters: It's further evidence of how the overturning of Roe v. Wade has fired up the reproductive health debate and left abortion foes struggling to respond.

The big picture: The findings point to the emergence of a new generation of abortion voters largely made up of those who want the procedure to be legal without exception, KFF said.

  • 48% of voters whose top issue is abortion say that they would vote for President Biden if the election were held today, compared with 26% who say that they would vote for former President Trump.
  • Half of those polled believed the races at the federal and state levels will have a "major impact" on access to abortion, and about 4 in 10 say the same about access to contraception, though there are big partisan divisions on that question.
  • Two-thirds of the public backs a law guaranteeing a federal right to abortion, including the majority of Democrats and independents. But nearly 6 in 10 Republicans oppose it.

About two-thirds of the public hasn't heard about the upcoming case to be argued at the Supreme Court that could determine access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

By the numbers: 16% of all women voters say abortion is the "most important issue" — a proportion that rises to 28% of Black women, 22% of Democratic women, 19% of women who currently live in states where the procedure is banned and 17% of women of reproductive age.

  • 58% of those polled oppose a proposed 16-week abortion ban, but 63% of Republicans support it.
  • 43% of Republicans overall say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but few seem ready to buck their party over the issue, KFF said.

There's a big partisan perception gap, too, with Democrats overwhelmingly viewing abortion as a matter of individual rights and a health care issue, while Republicans are likelier to view it as a moral one.

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