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Most Americans oppose Dobbs decision, think companies shouldn't take position on abortion: polls

Abortion, Supreme Court
Abortion-rights activists Carrie McDonald (C) and Soraya Bata react to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health overturns the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case and returns abortion laws to the states. |

Polls released since the U.S. Supreme Court granted states the authority to regulate abortion indicate that while a majority of Americans oppose the decision, most have nuanced views and think companies shouldn't take a stance on the divisive issue.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, Marist College conducted a poll in conjunction with NPR and PBS NewsHour assessing Americans’ views on various political topics. The survey, based on responses from 941 adults and conducted from June 24-25, included several questions about abortion.

When asked if they supported the overturning of Roe, 56% of respondents said they didn't approve of the Dobbs decision, while 40% expressed support for the ruling. Specifically, 28% of those surveyed “strongly support” the ruling, 12% “support” it, 11% “oppose” Dobbs and 45% “strongly oppose” it.

Americans’ views on the Dobbs decision closely mirror their views on abortion overall. The poll found that 55% of those surveyed identified themselves as mostly “supporting abortion rights” and 36% characterized themselves as mostly “opposing abortion rights.”

The survey also asked respondents for their views about the Supreme Court. Thirty-nine percent of those queried told pollsters that they had either a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the court compared to 58% who said they had “not very much” or “no confidence at all” in the institution. Nineteen percent expressed “a great deal of confidence in the court” and an additional 20% affirmed “quite a lot” of confidence in the body, while 25% maintained “not very much confidence” and 33% possessed “no confidence at all.”

However, a majority of Americans remain opposed to the idea of adding more justices to the Supreme Court, which has been pushed by progressive politicians and would have the effect of diluting the voting power of the justices who formed the majority opinion in Dobbs. Thirty-four percent of adults favor the practice derided by critics as “court packing,” while 54% oppose the idea.

Additionally, Americans expressed concern that “the overturning of Roe v. Wade will be used by the Supreme Court to reconsider past rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.” A plurality of Americans (42%) feel “very concerned” about the overruling of additional rulings, followed by 27% who are “not concerned at all” about the possibility” and 14% who describe themselves as “concerned” and “not very concerned” about the possible overturning of other rulings.

The concern about the potential reversal of Supreme Court decisions establishing rights to contraception, sodomy and same-sex marriage stems from a concurring opinion in the Dobbs case authored by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas wrote that “we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents,” classifying them as “demonstrably erroneous.”

Thomas suggested that the court had a duty to “correct the error” of previous decisions, citing the rulings granting rights to contraception, sodomy and same-sex marriage as examples of flawed legal analysis. However, the majority opinion in the Dobbs case, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, states that “our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right.”

A poll conducted by YouGov sampling the opinions of more than 1,000 adults from June 24-25 revealed plurality opposition to the Dobbs decision (47%). An additional 31% of respondents supported the ruling, followed by 14% who “neither approve nor disapprove” of the ruling, and 8% who said they were “not sure” how they felt about the overturning of Roe.

The YouGov survey also illustrated more nuanced opinions on abortion from the American public. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed called themselves “pro-life” and 34% placed themselves in the “pro-choice” category. An additional 25% hold “both pro-life and pro-choice” views, while 9% contended that they were “neither,” and 4% answered “not sure” in response to the question about their stance on abortion.

Similarly, 27% of respondents believe abortions “should be legal in all cases” and 33% want to see the procedure “legal in most cases.” The poll measured support for making abortion “illegal in most cases” at 28% and approval of making abortion “illegal in all cases” at 13%.

Another question in the survey asked, “In general, should major companies take a public position on abortion?” By a more than 2-1 margin, Americans believe that corporations should remain silent on the issue.

Fifty-one percent of those questioned responded with a “No” while 23% replied “Yes” and the remaining 26% maintained that they were “not sure.” This question reflects the fact that ahead of the Dobbs ruling, several major companies, including Amazon and Citigroup, have vowed to reimburse their employees’ travel expenses if they had to travel out of state to have an abortion. 

At the same time, a plurality of participants in the survey (44%) told pollsters that they didn't “think that large companies with operations in states that outlaw abortion should relocate to states where abortion is illegal.” Meanwhile, 28% favored the idea of large businesses based in states that ban abortion relocating to another state.

The Dobbs decision didn't outlaw abortion but rather determined that the Supreme Court lacked the authority to make national policy on the issue, thereby enabling each state to make its own laws on the legality of the procedure. The YouGov poll asked if abortion laws should “be decided nationally or left to the states.”

A plurality of respondents (43%) expressed a desire for abortion laws to be “decided nationally,” while 35% thought the issue should be “left to the states.” Twenty-two percent of those surveyed were “not sure.”

Like the Marist survey, the YouGov poll examined Americans’ feelings on the Supreme Court. A plurality of those surveyed “strongly disapprove” of the way the Supreme Court is “handling its job,” followed by 20% who “somewhat approve,” 16% who “strongly approve” and 15% who “somewhat disapprove” of its performance. Fifteen percent answered “not sure” when asked for their opinions on the Supreme Court.

The Dobbs decision comes four-and-a-half months before the 2022 midterm elections that will determine which policy controls Congress for the next two years. Both polls sought to examine the potential impact of the ruling on this fall’s elections.

According to the Marist poll, 61% of adults cited the Dobbs decision as making them “more likely to vote” in the midterms compared to just 3% who are now “less likely to vote” because of the ruling. More Democrats (78%) than Republicans (54%) regard themselves as “more likely to vote” in the fall following Dobbs.

The YouGov poll presented slightly different findings, with 23% of respondents insisting that the Dobbs decision will have “a great deal” of influence on their “vote in November” and an additional 14% predicting that it will impact their vote “a fair amount.” Meanwhile, 17% responded “not much” when asked how much their “vote in November will be affected by the court’s decision.” Another 23% see the Dobbs decision as “not at all” likely to influence which candidates they support in the upcoming elections.

Like the Marist poll, the YouGov survey showed that more Democrats believe the Dobbs decision will play a role in their vote in the 2022 elections. Thirty-three percent of Democrats asserted that Dobbs will influence their vote in November “a great deal” and an additional 19% predicted that the overturning of Roe will have “a great deal” of impact on their vote.

By contrast, only 18% of Republicans foresaw the Dobbs decision having “a great deal” of impact on their vote and 12% stated that it will have a “fair amount” of influence on their plans for Election Day.

Only Marist asked Americans for their thoughts on President Joe Biden’s job performance. While the president has a 40% approval rating and a 53% disapproval rating among the sample, more respondents plan to support a Democratic candidate for Congress (48%) than a Republican candidate (41%). This represents a slight increase in support for the Democratic candidate on the generic ballot from the last Marist Poll conducted in May 2022, which found Democrats beating Republicans 47% to 42%.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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