Oct 13, 2022 - Politics

Virginia poll shows nuance of abortion debate

Illustration of a caduceus over a divided red and blue background with elements of ballots.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Virginians' views on abortion can vary dramatically depending on how they're asked about it, new polling by Christopher Newport University's Wason Center indicates.

What they found: General questions about abortion rights yielded familiar results, finding broad support for access to the procedure.

  • 67% of respondents said they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • 58% said they oppose or strongly oppose the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

👀 Yes, but: A narrow majority of respondents (51%) also said they'd support a ban on abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy with exceptions for pregnancies arising from rape or incest.

Details: The poll, conducted between Sept. 18 and Oct. 7, surveyed 740 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

Why it matters: It's the first time a public poll has asked voters directly about Gov. Glenn Youngkin's push for a 15-week abortion ban, which he announced immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

  • Democrats, who hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, have vowed to block any measures.

Context: Abortion is currently legal in Virginia with no restrictions through the 25th week of pregnancy.

Between the lines: How can the same survey show voters hold two seemingly contradictory views?

  • Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, the Wason Center's research director, tells Axios she reads the results in the context of broader fears about complete bans on abortion. Juxtaposed to those extreme stances, she says a 15-week ban could "seem like the moderate take of the moment."

What we're watching: Bromley-Trujillo says views can change as the policy is debated.

  • "It's clearly a nuanced and complicated issue," she says.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more