New Poll Data on Abortion and Priorities


A new group called Citizens for Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness has commissioned and published the results of a new poll by the company Cygnal focusing on abortion:

The top-lines of the poll, which contacted 700 Ocean State residents via land and mobile lines, and with a 3.7% margin of error, include:

  • An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders (92.8%) believe that the abortion issue should not be the “top priority” for lawmakers; the abortion issue does not even rank among the top-6 issues
    • Only 7.2% say it’s their top priority
  • An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders (73.8%) believe that abortion should not be legal up until birth
    • Less than one-in-five Rhode Islanders (18.8%) believe it should be legal up until birth
  • An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders (68.9%) oppose partial-birth abortions in all situations
  • An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders (63.9%) oppose second-trimester abortions in all situations
  • An overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders (63.0%) oppose legislation which removes restrictions as to who can perform abortions
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The largest group of respondents (27%) believes that abortion should only be legal in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.  A little more than half of those would leave off rape and incest, too.  Add in those who do not think it should be “permitted under any circumstances,” and the total is 39%.  Another 25% draw the line at the first trimester, making that the majority position.

This means that 74% of Rhode Islanders oppose the state of the law as it currently exists for the nation.

That result is particularly telling when put in the context of respondents’ priorities.  After the universal interest in education, the next three top priorities that Rhode Islanders have for the General Assembly arguably lean conservative:  jobs and the economy, lowering taxes, and combating government corruption.  Indeed, despite Democrats’ being heavily represented in the poll, the largest group of respondents considers itself to be conservative (35%, compared with 32% moderate and 30% liberal).

An interesting question may shed some light on the motivation for the emphasis on “combating government corruption”:  How is it, given these results, that Rhode Island’s statewide office holders are all progressive (perhaps excluding the lieutenant governor) and progressives seem to get so much attention?

  • Joe Smith

    I doubt most people even understand – including apparently our GA members – what exactly “overturning Roe” means.

    From WPRI – “The possibility that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in the coming months or years is very real, and the result in Rhode Island would be that these harmful, insidious laws would become effective once again, with devastating effects on women’s health,” Ajello wrote in a statement.

    I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn recently, but I thought overturning Roe simply means the defining of the “right” reverts to the state – so not sure what “insidious laws would become effective” means. Apparently Rep. Ajello must think the laws of say Mississippi then prevail in RI?

    I like the comment from a VT legislator – VT legislature is voting on a similar effort to “codify” Roe.

    “Before the final vote, committee chair Rep. Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, stressed that the legislation does nothing more than codify what has been the law in Vermont for the past 40 years.

    “I know that people disagree with the fundamental aspects of this bill, but as we have crafted this bill, it does not change what is currently the policy, the legal context, in Vermont,” Pugh said. “It does not craft any new law.”

    Rosenquist said it was for that very reason he would vote against the measure.

    “That is the same reason that many of us feel it is unnecessary because you have just stated it doesn’t change anything,” he said.”

  • Rhett Hardwick

    These results do not surprise me. I think that when questioned in the relative privacy of a survey, individuals are more likely to visualize an infant than a shibboleth. Being “out of step” in public is another matter.