A Shift on Abortion?

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Copyright 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009; 3:11 PM

By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta Both foes and supporters of legal abortion should sit back and take a broad view before overreacting to Thursday's release of new poll numbers showing a big shift in Americans' attitudes about abortion. The reason for skepticism (or at least restraint) is simple: other polls, including the Washington Post-ABC News poll, have not picked up such a basic reorientation on this divisive issue. With their new data, Pew shows a sizable drop from 2008 to 2009 in the percentage of Americans saying abortion should be "legal in all cases" or "legal in most cases," a move that coincides with the election of a pro-choice president. Earlier this year, Gallup caused a stir with a similar finding: that the number of "pro-life" Americans for the first time outnumbered those describing themselves as "pro-choice." (A tilt back the other way two months later picked up little


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