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Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. (Photo: NJ Globe file photo).

Monmouth poll: Abortion a top 2020 issue

Two-thirds say abortion important to their presidential vote

By Nikita Biryukov, June 25 2019 12:00 pm

Abortion will be a top election issue nearly a third of voters In 2020’s presidential race, according to a Monmouth Poll released Tuesday.

Though few voters, 2%, said abortion was their most important issue in selecting a next president, 32% said it was very important and 30% said it was somewhat important.

The last rough third was equally split between saying abortion was not too important and not important at all. Each of those responses got 17% support in the poll.

Despite those figures, the lion’s share of the poll’s respondents said they believe federal lawmakers in both parties are spending too much effort on abortion.

Forty-nine percent of respondents told pollsters Republicans were spending too much time on the issue, while 20% said they were spending too little and 22% said they were spending the right amount of time.

The results were similar for Democrats — 39% of respondents said Democratic lawmakers in Washington were too focused on the issue, 27% said they weren’t focused enough and 24% they were just focused enough.

“Some Democrats see legal abortion as being under threat from Republicans at the state level and want their own party’s national leaders to be more engaged in this fight,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Those results change when respondents are asked about their own state lawmakers.

There, the largest chunks of voters — 34% for the GOP and 36% for Democrats — said their state legislators were putting the right amount of focus on state-level abortion fights.

That trend didn’t hold when respondents were asked about legislators in others states.

Half of the poll’s respondents said Republican politicians outside their home states were focusing too much on abortion, while only 34% said the same about Democrats.

Those responses come roughly a month after Alabama and other southern states passed heavily-restrictive abortion laws as a means to push a court challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

“We tend to focus on anti-abortion voters as the more potent electoral bloc on this issue.  But we are seeing some evidence that voters on the other side of the spectrum could become more activated in 2020,” Murray said.

The poll was conducted by telephone between June 12 and June 17 and had a sample size of 751 U.S. adults. The margin of error is 3.6%.

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