Share on Facebook
October 6, 2009
By Jodie Allen, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Experienced pollsters often find the trend in responses over time as interesting—or even more interesting—than the absolute numbers recorded. This is especially the case when dealing with controversial or novel topics, the sort of question that may tend to make respondents more likely to give what they see as the socially or morally acceptable answer rather than what they truly think.
So it caught the attention of the experts at the Pew Research Center when they noticed in an April 2009 poll that the proportion of American adults saying they thought that abortion should be legal in all or most cases had declined by 8 percentage points from the level recorded as recently as August 2008. Whereas in the 2008 poll those favoring legal abortion outnumbered those in opposition by 54 percent to 41 percent, now the two sides were essentially tied at 46 percent to 44 percent.