On Wednesday, Gallup released its latest research on abortion and the results show a noteworthy shift in public opinion.
Among the fascinating findings, the proportion of Americans calling themselves pro-choice come in at a record low -- a decline that is seen among all three U.S. political groups. As always, the results showcase division on an important social issue that often dominates political discussion, particularly during election years.
In 2011, The Blaze highlighted the fact that 49 percent of the nation called itself pro-choice, with an additional 45 percent claiming that they were pro-life. In 2010, the results were simular, as 45 percent were pro-choice and 47 percent were pro-life. This year, though, some major shifts in public perception appear to be underway.
Gallup published a report that includes an overall graph of the pro-choice and pro-life patterns that the research firm has observed since 1995. After examining the chart, one can see that the numbers have fluctuated quite a bit over time. The report further explains some of the numbers that are observed:
Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for "pro-choice" -- from 1998 through 2008 -- to a close division between the two positions since 2009. However, in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period.
The proportions found for Republicans, Democrats and Independents on the pro-choice and pro-life front are equally intriguing. In 2012, 72 percent of GOP adherents call themselves pro-life, up from 68 percent in 2011 and 65 percent in 2010. Democrats, of course, are far more likely to claim that they are pro-choice, with 58 percent selecting this option in 2012. However, this is down from the 68 percent who claimed the same in 2011 (and pro-life sentiment is up among more liberal respondents).
"The percentage of political independents identifying as pro-choice is 10 points lower today than in May 2011, while the percentage pro-life is up by six points," Gallup reports. "As a result, pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among this important swing political group for only the second time since 2001, with the first occurring in 2009."
The moral implications associated with abortion seem to be unchanged between 2011 and 2012. This year, 51 percent of Americans claim that abortion is morally wrong, with an additional 38 percent claiming that it is morally acceptable. This is on par with last year's results.
The results took into account 1,024 random adults, 18 years of age and older. The margin of sampling error fir the study is ±4 percentage points. Read the full report detailing Americans' abortion views here.