More Americans disapprove than approve of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

More than half of the public are at least somewhat sad or angry about the court’s ruling and about a third are relieved, proud, or excited.

July 21, 2022

A month following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, more Americans disapprove than approve of the decision – 53% to 30%. Democrats and women are more likely to disapprove than Republicans or men.

Over half are at least somewhat angry or sad about the decision, including 4 in 10 who are very/extremely angry or sad.  Half say the ruling makes them feel at least somewhat anxious or hopeless, of which 3 in 10 say they feel very/extremely hopeless or anxious.  Women are more likely than men to say they feel very or extremely anxious (32% vs. 23%) or sad (41% vs. 34%). 

While most Americans generally support legal abortion in the United States, many continue to feel  there should be some restrictions on the procedure.

More than half of Americans report feeling at least somewhat angry or sad about the ruling, while about a third are at least somewhat excited, proud, or relieved.

But about 1 in 10 are not feeling strong emotions reporting that indifference describes them very or extremely well.  

Republicans are much more inclined than Democrats to say they are very or extremely relieved (41% vs. 3%), proud (38% vs. 3%), or excited (34% vs. 3%).  And Democrats are more likely to report feeling very or extremely angry (58% vs. 17%), sad (57% vs. 18%), hopeless (44% vs. 15%), or anxious (43% vs. 14%).

In response to Roe v. Wade being overturned, most think that Congress should pass a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide. While the overwhelming majority of Democrats would support such a law, only about a third of Republicans say the same.

Similarly, opinion on whether each state government or the federal government should have a larger responsibility for making laws related to abortion is driven largely by partisanship: most Democrats believe the federal government should be primarily responsible, while most Republicans want responsibility with each state government.

While two-thirds of Americans think abortion should be legal in most cases throughout the first trimester, that support decreases significantly during the second or third trimesters.  Again, there are substantial partisan differences.  These results are largely unchanged from the June 2021 AP-NORC Poll.

Similarly, nearly three-quarters of Americans think their state should allow a pregnant person to obtain a legal abortion six weeks into the pregnancy, and about half think they should be able to obtain one 15 weeks into the pregnancy. However, only a third say the same 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

Large majorities of both Democrats and Republicans believe pregnant people should be able to get an abortion if the child would be born with a serious illness, if the pregnancy puts the person’s health at risk, or the person became pregnant through rape or incest.

However, while 79% of Democrats think their state should allow a pregnant person to obtain a legal abortion if they want one for any reason, only 24% of Republicans agree.

 Opinion among both Democrats and Republicans is similar to attitudes measured before the decision.

The nationwide poll was conducted July 14-27, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,085 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (July 2022). “More Americans disapprove than approve of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade”

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