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Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Still Deeply Unpopular Across US, Poll Finds

Half of people surveyed said they “strongly” disagree with the decision.

Abortion rights activists demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court during a Women's March in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2023.

As activists push for abortion rights ballot measures in states across the country, polling has found that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson is as unpopular as ever, a year on from the decision.

According to new polling by SSRS for CNN released Tuesday, 64 percent of U.S. adults disagree with the decision, with 50 percent saying they “strongly” disagree. This is nearly double the proportion of people who said in the latest poll that they approve of the decision (36 percent).

It is also almost the same proportion of disapproval as in a similar poll conducted for CNN when the Supreme Court decision was leaked last May, of 63 percent, with 51 percent strongly disapproving.

The polling further found that abortion remains a key issue for voters, with 29 percent of people surveyed saying they would only vote for a candidate who shared their view on the issue and a further 55 percent saying it is something they would take into consideration when voting, for a total of 84 percent.

The results, gathered between July 1 and 31, suggest that the public has remained opposed to the overturn of Roe v. Wade despite the right wing’s relentless propaganda campaign around abortion. It also suggests that the outrage over the decision hasn’t faded as more and more Americans must now live with the devastating consequences of abortion bans.

However, the polling also shows that Republicans’ quest to outlaw abortion nationwide could be pushing those who already opposed abortion further to the right. In 2022, only 20 percent of people who agreed with the Supreme Court decision said they wanted lawmakers to pursue a nationwide abortion ban versus leaving the issue up to states. But that proportion is now 34 percent, rising despite conservative justices’ insistence that states should decide on abortion rather than the federal government.

This represents a small proportion of the 12 percent of the public who believe in a nationwide ban. But it is still a leap from last year’s proportion of 7 percent even in the face of the horrors that state abortion bans have already wrought. It may also show the rise of the Christian right’s extremist messaging on abortion as Christofascists become more emboldened across the U.S.

“The saddest part for me, personally, is the fact that you have decided to take religion, and God, and Jesus out of the country,” Tony Stamper, a 53-year-old Kentuckian who participated in the poll and praised his home state’s abortion ban, told CNN, perhaps not aware of the fact that the First Amendment says that the U.S. should never establish an official religion.

The poll comes as Ohioans have resoundingly rejected a ballot measure known as Issue 1 that was a stand-in for opposition to abortion rights. On Tuesday, Ohioans voted 57 percent to reject the proposal to raise the threshold for passing any ballot measure from a simple majority to 60 percent, ahead of an election this fall in which residents are slated to vote on enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution. Currently, Ohio Republicans’ near-total abortion ban is not being enforced as it goes through the courts.

Opponents said the measure, which was pushed by right-wing donors from out of state and Republicans like Secretary of State Frank LaRose, was an effort by conservatives to erode democracy and suppress the voice of voters via minority rule.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, activists in Arizona launched an effort to qualify a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution. The procedure is banned past 15 weeks in the state after a court ruled that a trigger ban from 1864 that outlaws all abortions in the state could not go into effect. Ballot measures for abortion have so far all been successful in protecting abortion rights, even in Republican-dominated states.

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