Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court's abortion ruling and worry about other rights 56% of Americans disapproved of the decision in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after it was announced. A similar number say it was motivated by politics — not law.

Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court's abortion ruling and worry about other rights

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A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll out today finds that most Americans oppose the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. NPR senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro has been digging into the numbers, and he's here in the studio with us. Hey, Domenico.


SHAPIRO: Tell us about what the survey shows.

MONTANARO: Well, 56% said that they oppose the court's ruling. That includes about 9 in 10 Democrats, a majority of independents and 1 in 5 Republicans. Now, we didn't see much of a gender gap here. Both women and men were opposed to the ruling. But the biggest divide was by education. There was a 40-point gap between college graduates who oppose the ruling and those without degrees who are split.

Majorities are also concerned that the court will now reconsider rulings that protect other rights, like contraception and same-sex relationships. Suburban women in particular said they were concerned about this. That's a warning sign for Republicans because it's a group they've really been targeting in this election on issues related to COVID and education.

SHAPIRO: You mentioned the election. How might this impact voter turnout?

MONTANARO: Well, a strong majority said that they are now more likely to vote, but it's far and away Democrats who are the most fired up. Almost 8 in 10 Democrats said they're more likely to vote now, compared to only about half of Republicans. That's a big deal because with inflation and gas prices, Republicans have been so heavily favored to take back the House. Here's Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll on why this matters.

LEE MIRINGOFF: I would not in any way underestimate the magnitude of what this decision is from the court because it's going to play out not only at the national level, but in terms of state representatives suddenly now become more important because the state rules might play a role in what the future policies are.

MONTANARO: So there's a potential for this ruling to upend things up and down the ballot, and we just don't know how that's going to play out. It's why you see so many Republicans being cautious about how to react. They really don't want this front and center.

SHAPIRO: If the court seems so out of step with where voters are, does the poll say anything about the idea of court packing adding justices to neutralize the court's conservative supermajority?

MONTANARO: Well, it is something that, obviously, progressives have been pushing with Democratic leadership, but a majority of respondents are not in favor of taking that step. Just a third say they want to see that happen. And there's a real gap between Democrats and everyone else here - 62% of Democrats are on board with that, but only 29% of independents are. If progressives and Democrats really are going to stem the tide of this conservative cultural shift that's underway, it's going to likely have to take place at the ballot box.

I have to say, though, it's a really odd situation to have one side Democrats continuously winning the popular vote in presidential elections, for example, in increasingly large numbers, and to have public opinion largely on their side on major cultural issues like abortion and gun safety regulation. And yet, they're susceptible to losing presidential elections because of the Electoral College. And we're seeing the Supreme Court pushing the country culturally in an opposite direction. It really is stretching the fabric of the country and casting doubt on trust in a lot of the systems.

SHAPIRO: And so do you expect that these midterms are going to be much more volatile? Is it going to be fought over abortion on the Supreme Court?

MONTANARO: Well, I think undoubtedly, we're going to have to wait and see, watch what's going to happen here because it is introducing a ton of volatility. We're seeing lots of activism taking place. And that can only mean that, you know, Republicans are on their back heels a little bit when it comes to this issue because Republicans I have talked to have said they really just don't want this to be a thing that they have to message against because they're not sure how to handle it.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thank you.

MONTANARO: You're welcome.

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