Suffolk Poll: Most Voters Not Informed on Abortion Facts

Majority oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, but economy remains most important to voters

Most Americans have deeply held opinions on abortion rights, but the majority are not well informed about how many abortions take place in the United States each year or how early in pregnancy the procedure is most often performed, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll of registered voters.  

Presented with a multiple-choice question, just 26% of likely voters correctly answered that fewer than one million abortions are performed each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About 41% of respondents incorrectly chose “between 1-5 million,” and 18% said “more than 5 million.” Another 15% were undecided. 

Most respondents also did not know that about 90% of abortions in the United States are performed during the first three months of pregnancy, the CDC has reported. Less than half (47%) of respondents correctly answered that question, while a majority had different answers, including 24% who incorrectly answered that only about half of abortions take place in the first trimester. Another 16% guessed about a third, and 13% were unsure. 

Still, poll respondents had strong opinions on abortion, and the majority said they do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the coming days.

Exactly 61% oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, with 28% supporting the dissolution of the decision. And 63% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 30% said it should be illegal in all or most cases.  

An overwhelming 79% oppose Congress passing a law banning abortion nationwide. Just 16% of respondents support a national ban, with 5% undecided.

"Which comes closest to your view?"
Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll June 22, 2022

While abortion rights are viewed as an important issue, they are in most cases not the deciding factor for voters in the upcoming November midterm election. About 62% said abortion is an important issue, but not the most important issue driving their vote.
Instead, the economy is foremost on the minds of a majority of voters. Asked what matters more to their vote, abortion rights or the state of the economy, voters picked the economy hands down, with 66% choosing it compared to the 23% who chose abortion rights. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) said a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade would have no effect on their likelihood of voting in November.  
"What is most important to your vote?"
Suffolk University/ USA TODAY Poll June 22, 2022

The poll also shows that support for abortion rights wanes with the duration of a pregnancy. In the first three months, abortion is supported 60% to 29%. However, 56% of respondents oppose abortions in the midterm or second trimester of a pregnancy. The number opposed jumps to 67% for late-term abortions.  

Nearly one-third of voters polled also said that strict abortion bans enacted by state governments made that state “less desirable” to live in, while 60% said it had no effect. Almost 53% percent of respondents supported employers aiding employees seeking out-of-state abortions, if the procedure is not legal locally. 

Voters continue to disapprove of Biden Administration performance

President Biden continues to struggle with nearly six in ten voters disapproving of his job performance (57%), with just 39% approving. And a whopping 71% say the country is on the wrong track, while 16% say the country is going in the right direction.


The nationwide Suffolk University/USA Today survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. The survey of 1,000 voters was conducted June 12-15, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

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