Polling Finds Strong Support for Abortion Access in Battleground States

October 15, 2020
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]

NIRH Action Fund’s polls in Arizona and Pennsylvania show voters want abortion to remain legal and support candidates and elected official who will expand access

NEW YORK— The NIRH Action Fund commissioned polling in 2020 that found widespread support for abortion access in the key battleground states of Arizona and Pennsylvania. This polling builds on NIRH’s and NIRH Action Fund’s national and state-based public opinion and message research conducted since 2016. The Arizona and Pennsylvania surveys yield strikingly similar results and indicate that voters in these states and beyond are ready for elected officials to advance a bold vision for reproductive freedom. Candidates and campaigns can lead and win on a platform of values-based support for reproductive freedom, specifically abortion access.

NIRH AF’s polling shows that most people – including many Republican voters – support access to abortion, don’t think that politicians should restrict access, and trust women to make the right decisions for themselves based on their individual circumstances. The findings in these two very different states are shockingly aligned and demonstrate that voters want candidates and their elected officials to be focused on protecting and expanding access to abortion care, rather than restricting it.

“Our findings demonstrate that candidates and campaigns can lead and win on a platform of support for reproductive freedom, specifically, abortion access,” said President of NIRH and the NIRH Action Fund. “Voters understand that every circumstance is different, and trust women to make the decisions that are best for their lives, their health, and their futures. Voters are fed up with the extreme, inflammatory rhetoric around abortion from anti-abortion politicians and activists – and don’t find inflammatory attacks on abortion credible.”


As a baseline position, voters across the political spectrum think abortion should be legal:

  • Democrats (AZ: 89%, PA: 86%), Independents (AZ: 69%, PA: 61%), and a sizeable portion of Republicans (AZ: 39%, PA: 41%) think abortion should remain legal in almost all or most cases. Only an incredibly slim minority (AZ: 8%, PA:7%) think abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Voters of both parties are prepared to vote for candidates who support abortion access:

  • For Democrats, at least three-quarters in each state prefer candidates who support abortion access (AZ: 75%; PA: 76%).
  • Republicans are more likely to break with their party’s anti-abortion orthodoxy by voting for a candidate who supports abortion access (AZ: 21%, PA: 39%), while far fewer Democrats are likely to vote for a candidate who is against abortion (AZ: 7%, PA: 15%).

Voters show empathy for a person’s unique circumstances and trust that each person is able to make the decision about whether to have an abortion for themselves:

  • At least 75% of voters in both states understand that everyone’s circumstances are different, and trust women to make the decisions that are best for their lives, their health, and their futures.
  • At least 7 in 10 voters in both states believe that women should have the rights, freedoms, and opportunities to control their lives, bodies, and futures — and that includes the right and ability to have an abortion. More than half of voters strongly agree with this statement.

“As attention turns toward support for abortion access, it is critical that we not default to a narrative that abortion is divisive or that voters are split on this issue,” said Miller. “To the contrary, support for abortion access is strong across the political spectrum and across the country.”


The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund (NIRH Action Fund) are advocacy groups that fight to protect and advance access to reproductive health care and build political power for reproductive freedom. They work hand-in-hand with reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in states and cities across the country to build coalitions, launch campaigns, change policy, and elect candidates who stand up for everyone’s right to control their reproductive lives. Their strategy is to go on the offensive to pass laws that safeguard reproductive freedom. They work in the communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart.