It's probably too soon to make a big deal over what might be a statistical burp, but this is at least interesting. With the president -- and therefore the poltical establishment -- going one way on abortion, the country seems to be going the other way:
A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.
What the accompanying chart does show is a pretty clear trend. Pro-choice started at its high of 56 percent in the first year of the poll and has had a fairly steady decline to today's 42 percent. Pro-life started at its low of 33 percent the first year and has had a fairly steady increase to today's 51 percent.
And this part of the poll is really interesting:
The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion.
And the group in the middle (those not comfortable with either extreme) has an interesting breakdown: 15 percent say abortion should be legal under most circumstances, but 37 percent, the largest of all groups by far, say it should be legal only in a few circumstances. If you add it all together, that makes 37 percent who think abortion should be legal under any or most circumstances, and 60 percent who think it should be illegal in all circumstances or legal only in a few circumstances. So we remain deeply conflicted on the issue, but it would hardly be accurate to call this a pro-choice country.