Results of Marist/KC poll: majority of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong

The results of a KC and Marist College poll:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Melania says:

    This is very encouraging. This is how Americans feel about abortion even after 40 years of relentless pro-abortion propaganda in our schools, in the media, from our government and “educated elites.”

    Think of what the results of such a poll would have been if the pro-life movement had been able to teach pro-life in the schools, get their ads on TV, broadcast their documentaries on the PBS channels … or even if pro-life had been strongly and consistently preached in our churches.

    This should be a tremendous boost to the pro-life movement and an incentive to put forth even greater efforts to get the message out.

  2. TomG says:

    “Not a moral issue”: arrgghh!

  3. Vetdoctor says:

    As I speak to the non-Catholics I know and work with the most typical remark is something like, “Abortion is wrong and I would never have one but it should be kept legal-just in case someone rally needs one”.

  4. SonofMonica says:

    Think of where we would be if Catholics would quit contracepting in open and unashamed rebellion and disobedience of the Church… Oy vey!

  5. Michael in NoVA says:

    Though the percentages are not extremely different, did anyone else notice that the Greatest Generation and Gen X are the most pro-life, while Baby Boomers and their offspring, Millennials, are most okay with abortion?

    GG saw destruction of WWII, and Gen X saw the repercussion of the 1960s and 1970s hedonism. It will be interesting to see how Millennial attitudes might change. As for Baby Boomers, I’m afraid it will be “me-first” even to the grave.

  6. TomG says:

    Michael: Yes, immediately. But then as a Baby Boomer born out of time it was the first thing I looked for.

  7. Paul Rimmer says:

    It is good to see a vast majority on the right side.

    I do have a couple questions about the poll itself. How was this poll conducted? How were random populations assured (hopefully it was done through a third party name that could not be easily identified as Catholic)? What are the errors on this poll?

    Also, the format (with the pseudo-pie-charts that don’t add up to 100%) hurts my eyes.

  8. Michael in NoVA says:

    Paul- From the link Fr. Z posted, slide 2:

    •This study was undertaken by The Knights of Columbus in partnership with The Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
    •This report presents the findings from a survey of 2,243 Americans –including an oversample of 1,006 Millennials. Reports for Americans have a margin of error of +/-2% and for Millennials it is +/-3%.
    •Data were collected from December 23, 2009 through January 4, 2010 using an online, probability-based panel from Knowledge Networks, Inc.
    •Analysis of sub-groups is included when noteworthy and/or statistically different.

    Online panels worry me a bit, and the KofC didn’t release details about the methodology and results as they should. Without more information, I would not take this poll too seriously, but I would not totally dismiss it, either. It confirms the trend that seems to be seen in other polls, that Americans are having increasing problems with abortion.

  9. Paul Rimmer says:

    Michael in NoVA,

    Thanks for the information. I did not notice that the PDF I loaded had two pages.

    It sounds like their methodology is sound, for the most part.

    The results, I agree, should not be ignored. Very positive trend; how positive quantitatively, it is hard to say.

  10. bookworm says:

    I can think of several POSSIBLE explanations for the difference of opinion between age groups:

    — The WWII generation were formed during the era when both Church teaching and State laws against abortion were their strongest. They also survived the hardships of the Depression and WWII and know that these things are not the end of the world.
    — The Baby Boomers, of course, were formed during the era of the sexual revolution and “women’s lib” and are still fighting those battles.
    — The Gen Xers are currently raising children themselves, which has forced them to realize the value of life and of traditional moral values.
    — Millennials (I’m assuming this refers to those born since about 1980 or so) are the ones brought up with the most intense barrage of pro-abortion and pro-promiscuity propaganda. Most are still single and enjoying the “fruits” of the sexual revolution but an increasing number of them are realizing the emptiness of the secular way of life. Their opposition to abortion will likely increase as they start having children themselves.

  11. The Cobbler says:

    Let me get this straight…

    Prolifers try to shape the culture, observe it, strive to use accurate language, and watch trends to see if their work is bearing fruit. They do not, however, object to calling the forefathers of the decadence they fight “greatest”. Eh?

    No, I am not getting my generations mixed up. I hold that it is not possible for a generation of parents who are good morally, good as people and good as parents to raise a generation as crappy as the decadent, self-centered doofi who are currently our elders in this part of the world.

    Perhaps someone with more knowledge of what fell through than I could suggest an alternative, honest name for the supposedly greatest generation ever to raise the supposedly most selfish generation? Or am I either totally mixed up or way too overlooking of the lack of relationship between parent and child since the dark ages ended?

  12. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    Re: The Millenials such as myself.

    What are you all talking about? The poll shows that most Millenials, like the general population, see abortion as morally wrong. It’s just that among the pro-aborts, there is a larger proportion of Millenials.

    Speaking from experience, most fellow Millenials I know (and I go to a public university in California, so it would be skewed towards the liberals) are either pro-life or indifferent on the issue. Of the indifferent, you get the attitude of “how does this affect me? What does it have to do with finding a job, or keeping the streets safe from crime?” Sad, yes, but better than outright pro-abortion positions. Also while the commited pro-aborts are not that large in number, they tend to merely be quite vocal. So don’t tar us completely on account of the vocal minority – it’s just that most of us aren’t as loud.

  13. ds says:


    While I grant to you that the term “greatest generation” has it’s limitations (I mean surely the Civil War or founding generations could make a claim on it too.)

    Also I see what you are saying, how did the “greatest” generation give us the “baby-boom” generation?

    I think what you need to recall though is the 1960’s was very much about rebellion against the older generation.

    From a Catholic perspective perhapes the great mistake the “greatest generation” made was trusting the Church too much, by that I mean, trusting the local parish, trusting the sisters at the parish school, and even trusting the wider culture (movies, tv, gov’t) around them, to form the children as good, moral, religious, people.

    In previous times parents could have trusted institutions to keep their kids on the right path. A child of two dead-beat parents in even an average parish school, at one time in history, woud have been able to pick up the piety and devotion that it takes intense efforts by two commited parents to convey in our era.

    I can’t really blame the old people though, I know more than a few baby-boomers who have almost no use for the Church while their elderly parents are praying the Rosary for their children, and grandchildren who have almost no exposure to Christianity other than seeing that image of the sacred heart at grandma’s house etc.

  14. TJerome says:

    I would be careful when interpreting these statistics. Where do you think the babyboomers got their ideas? There were some left-wing loons in the Greatest Generation. I have a neighbor in his mid-80s, a fire breathing Democrat, alleged Catholic, and father of 12 children who is the biggest supporter of Roe v Wade I know. And he’s not the only oldster I know of that Greatest Generation who feels that way. He was also the product of exclusively Catholic schools from grade school through college ( well, for college he went to a Jesuit School, so I don’ know if that counts. So the rot was there long before the Council. Tom

  15. bookworm says:

    “most fellow Millenials I know (and I go to a public university in California, so it would be skewed towards the liberals) are either pro-life or indifferent on the issue. Of the indifferent, you get the attitude of “how does this affect me?”

    Millennials (even those who are pro-life) have never lived in a time when abortion was illegal, and they probably can’t imagine that abortion will ever become completely illegal again. If they woke up one morning and found that Roe had been overturned, it would be like seeing the sun rise in the west. For those who think abortion is morally justified or OK, they see no reason to worry that their “right” will ever be lost. Some of the “indifferent” Millennials probably do lean pro-life but figure that trying to un-legalize abortion is a waste of time that could be better spent on other issues.

    It’s not that they truly don’t care, but that Roe, to them, is “ancient history” like Vietnam or Watergate. If Roe were ever overturned, however, you can bet those “indifferent” Millennials would quickly choose sides one way or the other, once they got over the shock.

  16. historyb says:

    Hmm, I was born in 1971 so what does that make me? I can say I am solidly pro-life and like the old values that we as a nation have lost.

  17. Semper Idem says:

    Here’s a lovely website that somebody had posted on Facebook. Wonderful.

  18. historyb says:

    It’s not that lovely when it praises murders of babies

  19. Boots says:

    Interesting, but still probably one of the worst laid out graphics I’ve seen. It’s just really confusing about what it really is saying. Perhaps the left pie could be smaller than the right one, and why is the center a bar and not a pie???

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