Senators Have a Lot to Gain by Supporting Abortion Rights and Rejecting Kavanaugh

As the U.S. Senate considers Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, a new national survey conducted by Civis Analytics’ political data science team shows that voters overwhelmingly believe a new Supreme Court justice should uphold women’s constitutional right to abortion. Furthermore, voters are more likely to support Senators who oppose a nominee who would restrict women’s access to abortion – consistent with numerous recent independent surveys that show broad-based, bipartisan opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade.

More than three in four voters want a Supreme Court justice to uphold abortion rights. More than 75 percent of voters believe it’s important that a new Supreme Court justice uphold women’s constitutional rights, including abortion. Strong majorities of voters support abortion rights; this holds across the political spectrum. Seven in ten are opposed to the Supreme Court restricting women’s constitutional rights, including abortion. This includes 87 percent of Democrats, 86 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Republicans.

Voters are concerned about the right to abortion and what Kavanaugh could do. A majority believe that the right to have abortion in our country is at risk, including 66 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Independents, and 45 percent of Republicans. Half believe it’s likely Kavanaugh will overturn Roe. Eighty-seven percent think the odds are 50 percent or higher that Kavanaugh will overturn Roe.

Democrats and Independents are not divided on abortion, with strong majorities supporting abortion rights. A majority of Republicans also support abortion rights. A majority of voters of all political leanings say it is important to them personally that a new Supreme Court justice rule to uphold women’s constitutional rights, including abortion (91 percent  of Democrats, 71 percent of Independents, and 60 percent of Republicans).

There is tremendous advantage for Senators to lean into abortion rights in the context of the Supreme Court debate. Voters are twice as likely to support, rather than oppose, senators who vote for a nominee who would uphold Roe v. Wade. Even Republicans are six points more likely to increase rather than decrease their support for a Senator who upheld Roe. Voters are also twice as likely to support a candidate for elected office who supports women’s rights on abortion.

Senators also have a lot to gain by supporting access to birth control and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. More than 93 percent of voters want the Supreme Court to uphold laws that protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied insurance coverage. Eighty percent are opposed to the Supreme Court ruling to restrict access to birth control.

Voters want full and complete answers from Kavanaugh on their individual rights and liberties. Eighty-seven percent of likely voters said it was important to them that Kavanaugh discuss his beliefs on whether the Constitution protects the individual right of all people to make personal decisions about their bodies and relationships, including the right to use contraception and to have an abortion. Eighty-two percent of Republicans thought it was important to hear from Kavanaugh on these vital topics.

Voters are highly engaged on the Supreme Court nomination — and they’re ready to take action. Sixty-five percent have heard about the Supreme Court vacancy and 75 percent plan to pay “some” or “a lot” of attention to the news about a nominee and confirmation hearing. More than forty percent say it’s likely that they’ll contact their Senators to voice their opinions about Judge Kavanaugh.

Quote from Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO, National Women’s Law Center Action Fund:

“It’s crystal clear that people across the country want a Justice who will uphold their life-saving legal protections. Every day we hear from people who fear that their birth control or coverage of pre-existing conditions will be taken away, as well as their right to abortion. The polling results echo these concerns. Voters know what’s at stake with this nomination. And without review of Kavanaugh’s full record, they will be left in the dark.”

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“This poll shows that people are deeply concerned about a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, and they’re worried about what Kavanaugh would do. We’re seeing this in poll after poll, and in grassroots momentum nationwide. Activists are organizing events, delivering petitions, and driving phone calls to the Senate in all fifty states. People know their rights and freedoms are on the line — and they’re taking action. The Senate must listen to their constituents and reject Kavanaugh.”

The online survey was conducted on July 25 on behalf of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and National Women’s Law Center Action Fund and included responses from 2,438 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8% at a 95% confidence interval.


For immediate release:  July 30, 2018
Contact: Maria Patrick ([email protected]) and Olympia Feil ([email protected])