Polls conducted in 2009 have found fewer Americans expressing support for abortion than in previous years. In Pew Research Center polls in 2007 and 2008, supporters of legal abortion clearly outnumbered opponents; now Americans are evenly divided on the question, and there have been modest increases in the numbers who favor reducing abortions or making them harder to obtain. Less support for abortion is evident among most demographic and political groups.
The latest Pew Research Center survey also reveals that the abortion debate has receded in importance, especially among liberals. At the same time, opposition to abortion has grown more firm among conservatives, who have become less supportive of finding a middle ground on the issue and more certain of the correctness of their own views on abortion.
No single reason for the shift in opinions is apparent, but the pattern of changes suggests that the election of a pro-choice Democrat for president may be a contributing factor. Among Republicans, there has been a seven point decline in support for legal abortion and a corresponding six point increase in opposition to abortion. But the change is smaller among Democrats, whose support for legal abortion is down four points with no corresponding increase in pro-life opinion. Indeed, three groups of President Obama’s strongest supporters—African Americans, young people and those unaffiliated with a religion—have not changed their views on abortion at all. At the same time, fully half of conservative Republicans (52%)—the political group most opposed to abortion-–-say they worry Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights.
The New York Times calls Obama—who hired eugenicist John Holdren as “Science Czar”—a Democrat who supports abortion rights but has often spoken about the need to reduce the number of abortions.