(The Hill) — A majority of Americans say they oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.
Fifty-four percent of respondents polled said they opposed overturning Roe v. Wade if the court were to roll back the ruling and leave abortion laws to the states. Forty-six percent of voters said they were in favor of repealing it when asked the same question.
The findings come less than a week after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which involves a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case poses one of the biggest threats to Roe v. Wade in decades. Unlike many past abortion cases heard before the Supreme Court, which have been over regulations at the state level, Mississippi is directly asking the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark abortion ruling and allow states to make their own abortion laws.
“A majority opposes overturning Roe v. Wade but most would support moving the viability threshold to 15 weeks instead of 24 weeks,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey.
When given the additional context that the court ruled that a woman had the right to an abortion until the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, 32% said they were in favor of repealing Roe v. Wade entirely and leaving abortion laws up to the states. Another 38% said the court should affirm Roe v. Wade as it is. Twenty-four percent said they believed the date to have an abortion should be rolled back from 24 weeks of pregnancy to 15 weeks of pregnancy, while just 8% said the period to have an abortion should be extended to 36 weeks.
“America remains ambivalent about abortion and the issue is will the court walk the fine line of public opinion or set off something of a firestorm,” Penn said.
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Abortion rights activists have expressed trepidation over last week’s oral arguments, as some justices on the 6-3 conservative court suggested they may be willing to enact new restrictions on the procedure, though it’s unclear whether the court would go as far as overturning Roe v. Wade and punting the issue back to the states. The high court is expected to have a decision by June 2022.
The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,989 registered voters was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.
The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.