With the Senate poised to pass Florida’s most restrictive abortion ban since the procedure became legal, a new poll shows most voters are opposed to the change.
The Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida polled a representative sample of 685 voters registered statewide. The abortion question was part of a survey addressing important issues in Florida now in front of the Legislature.
The poll, done from Feb. 7-20, found 57% of respondents either somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved of the bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The House passed the measure last week, with proponents of the legislation (HB 5), arguing 15 weeks is plenty of time for those victims to seek the procedure, if they choose.
Half of the respondents also were told the bill makes no exception for rape or incest victims, as the current bill headed for approval is written. The number who strongly disapprove or somewhat disapprove rose by 5 percentage points when respondents were told those exceptions were not in the bill, the poll found.
That the results didn’t change that much with the framing of the question says something about this issue, argued Michael Binder, the faculty director of PORL.
“The fact that the responses weren’t terribly different speaks to the highly partisan and emotional nature of the abortion debate,” said Binder, also a UNF professor of political science. “People tend to know where they stand on the issue and question-wording doesn’t change very many peoples’ minds.”
The issue also falls along partisan lines.
The results show 67% of Republicans agree or strongly agree with the ban. And when told there was no exception for rape or incest, support for the ban dropped. But most Republicans — 51% — still supported the ban.
Among Democrats, 71% opposed the ban. That opposition rose to 78% when informed the measure had no exceptions for rape or incest.
The poll has a sampling error of 3.74 percentage points.