Today, the US Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. How have Californians viewed Roe v. Wade over time, and which groups of Californians are more—or less—supportive of the decision?
Since we first asked about overturning Roe v. Wade in August 2005, strong majorities of Californians—including at least half across party groups—have said that they do not want to overturn Roe v. Wade. Opposition to overturning the watershed abortion case has ranged from 65% in June 2007 to 77% in July 2021. Among likely voters, more than seven in ten have been opposed since 2005, ranging from a low of 72% to a high of 79%.
Today, while majorities across parties oppose overturning Roe, Democrats (87%) and independents (77%) are far more likely than Republicans (54%) to oppose.
Across regions and demographic groups, more than six in ten oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. However, the exact levels of support vary across groups. For example, opposition across regions ranges from 62% in the Inland Empire to 81% in the San Francisco Bay Area. Opposition rises sharply as educational attainment increases (61% high school only, 73% some college, 83% college graduate), and opposition is lower among Latinos than among other racial/ethnic groups.
In addition, while opposition is similar among men and women, those with children 18 or younger in the household are 10 points less likely to oppose overturning Roe (65% to 75%).
The impact of overturning Roe v. Wade may not be felt widely in California, given the state’s support for access to abortion—including a possible constitutional amendment regarding the right to choose. But most Californians have expressed concern about other states making it too difficult to get an abortion, and California is preparing to assist Americans from other states who may see their access to abortion services limited. A decision overturning Roe v. Wade would certainly affect the upcoming midterm elections—in California and beyond—and could even influence control of Congress. As the debate over abortion access continues, the PPIC Statewide Survey will continue to monitor views on abortion as well as track the potential political impact.