Sep 12, 2018

Exclusive poll: Americans want to leave Roe v. Wade in place

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Data: Survey Monkey online poll conducted Sept. 5-7, 2018 among 2,033 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimates: full sample ±3.0,  African-American Women ± 10.5, Millennials Age 18 - 34 ± 6, White Suburban Women ± 7.5, Never Hillary/Independent voters  ± 11.5, Rural  ± 6.5; Poll methodology; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The vast majority of Americans want to leave Roe v. Wade in place, a reality that Republicans will face if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court and has a chance to overturn it, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey survey.

Why it matters: Legalized abortion has overwhelming support across the board, including every category of key voters Axios is tracking in the midterm elections. That includes eight out of 10 white suburban women and #NeverHillary independents — two subgroups Republicans will need if they want to keep control of Congress after November.

  • Even rural voters — who normally give President Trump some of his strongest support — are strongly against overturning Roe.
  • The margin is closer among Republicans: 45% want to overturn Roe and are open to making abortion illegal, while 50% want to leave Roe in place. But 78% of independents, and 90% of Democrats, are opposed to overturning Roe.

Americans are more divided over Kavanaugh. More people oppose his confirmation (48%) than support it, and the questions over whether he would vote to overturn Roe are fueling doubts about him.

  • If the decision is overturned, state laws would determine where abortion would remain legal and where it would be banned.

The other side: Don't ignore the pro-choice Kavanaugh supporters. Nearly one third of those who want to leave Roe in place also support Kavanaugh's nomination.

  • They make up 38% of #NeverHillary independents, the most crucial swing voter in the 2018 midterms. And he's gained net support (50%) from these voters, too, since we started polling them in August.
  • Democrats' rally to block Kavanaugh could alienate some of these voters come November — especially if, for whatever reason, he's not confirmed.

Between the lines: Our polling suggests that Kavanaugh will never win over black women (69% disapprove) or millennials (57% disapprove). He's also lost support among white suburban women.

  • That doesn't mean Kavanaugh will be the most important issue to midterm election voters: only 7% said that. But another 43% said the Supreme Court nomination will be one of several important factors in their vote.

The bottom line: The Supreme Court fight guarantees that abortion will be an issue in the midterm elections — and an even bigger one in 2020 if Kavanaugh is confirmed and the court makes a move against Roe v. Wade.

Go deeper: How SCOTUS could start rolling back abortion rights

Methodology: This analysis is based on SurveyMonkey online surveys conducted Sept. 5-7, 2018 among 2,033 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. More information about our methodology here. Crosstabs available here.

Correction: This story has been updated to better reflect how the survey question was asked and answered. The question was about whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the "yes" option suggested that the result would be to make abortion illegal, rather than leaving it to the states.

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