Texans Remain Closely Divided as U.S. Supreme Court Again Reviews Abortion Rights

The June 2016 University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll included a brief item that asks respondents a simple question about a complex issue: “Generally speaking, do you consider yourself pro-life, pro-choice, or neither?”  We can and do periodically ask more complex questions to understand attitudes toward abortion and women’s health, but the June 2016 poll did not include such questions. We began including this simple item for two main reasons: to keep an eye out for signs of change, and to be able to use the results in cross-tabulations for other items.  

For example, the most recent poll reveals that  53 percent of pro-choice voters support Hillary Clinton for President, but only 13 percent of pro-life voters say that they would vote for her. When it comes to Donald Trump, whose views on abortion have drawn periodic attention during the presidential campaign, only 25 percent of pro-choice identifiers support his candidacy, while 58 percent of those who identify themselves as pro-life prefer Trump. To put that in perspective, 73 percent of Republicans say that they will vote for Trump, while 75 percent of Democrats say that they will vote for Clinton – at this admittedly early stage.  

The June 2016 results may be of interest in the context of the Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, particularly given the case’s origins in Texas. Below, we’ve posted the overall results as well as some of the demographic crosstabs. As we’ve written previously when examining more complex survey questions, while pro-life identifiers largely identify with the Republican Party and pro-choice identifiers largely identify with the Democratic Party, the parties are not monolithic:  the share of partisans who don’t identify with the label embraced by the majority of their own party varies between a quarter and a third of each.

UPDATE 27 June 10:10 AM: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Texas abortion law unconstitutional by a 5-3 vote.  You can read the decision on the Court's website (links to pdf).

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