Voters hold more lopsided views on the court’s ruling in the 1973 landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, with 62 percent saying the Supreme Court should uphold the decision that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion, while 24 percent say it should be overturned and a sizable 14 percent have no opinion.
Abortion is likely to be a focus of questioning during hearings given the sharp partisan divide on the issue as well as Barrett’s conservative judicial philosophy and anti-abortion positions. In 2006, Barrett signed her name to an Indiana newspaper advertisement in the South Bend Tribune that called for Roe vs. Wade to be overturned and denounced the ruling’s “barbaric legacy.”
The Post-ABC poll finds 81 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independent voters say the court should uphold its decision in Roe. Republicans are roughly divided, with 40 percent saying it should be upheld while 44 percent say it should be overturned.
Support for overturning the decision reaches a majority only among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who identify as “very conservative” (57 percent) or among White evangelical Protestant Republicans (51 percent). White evangelical Protestants overall – not just those who lean Republican – are split, with 44 percent saying Roe should be overturned and 41 percent saying it should be upheld.
A 60 percent majority of Catholics and 62 percent of White Catholics say Roe should be upheld, while fewer than 3 in 10 of either group say it should be overturned. Support for upholding the ruling rises to 73 percent among White mainline Protestants and 75 percent of voters who do not affiliate with any religious group.
Partisanship deeply colors views on how the Senate should proceed, with 77 percent of Republicans saying the Senate should hold hearings for Barrett and 83 percent of Democrats in favor of leaving the decision to the winner of the presidential election.
Two key groups shifted in recent weeks on the question of who should nominate the next Supreme Court justice. In September, 63 percent of independent voters said it should be left to the winner of the next election. That has decreased to 51 percent in the latest poll, making independents roughly split, with 46 percent saying the Senate should hold hearings.
Almost two-thirds of women (65 percent) said the Supreme Court nominee should be left to the next president immediately after Ginsburg’s death, 55 percent say the same now.
The politics of abortion rights can be difficult for parties to navigate, with advocates and elected leaders deeply polarized even though most Americans say abortion should be legal in some circumstances, but not all.
A 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation poll (KFF) found about 6 in 10 Americans said abortion should be legal in either “all” or “some” cases, including 27 percent who said it should be legal in all cases while 32 percent said it should be legal in “most cases.” Among the roughly 4 in 10 who said abortion should be mostly illegal, 30 percent said it should be illegal in “most cases,” with 11 percent saying it should be “illegal in all cases.”
The partisan divide is sharp on the issue of abortion’s overall legality in the KFF survey, though fewer than half of Democrats said abortion should be legal in all cases (44 percent), while a smaller 20 percent of Republicans said it should be illegal in all cases.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 6 through 9 among a random national sample of 1,014 adults, including 879 registered voters. Three-quarters of the sample were reached on cellphones, and the remaining quarter were reached on landlines. Results among registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The error margins are larger among subgroups.