Americans are split on whether the Senate filibuster should be able to block abortion legislation

Linley SandersData Journalist
June 30, 2022, 9:02 PM GMT+0

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said he supports making an “exception” to the Senate’s filibuster rule in order to codify into law the protections of Roe v. Wade — which was overturned last week by the Supreme Court. Under the current filibuster rule, a bill would need 60 votes to pass if opponents decided to filibuster it. A suspension of the filibuster would mean it could pass with only 50, plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris — but there has been resistance from moderate Democrats to scrap the rule.

A new YouGov poll, conducted June 27 - 30, indicates that Americans are split on the Senate’s current filibuster rule. About one-third (36%) oppose it, while 34% support it. About three in 10 adults (29%) are not sure. Americans are also split (41% to 38%) on whether legislation related to abortion should take a 60-vote majority or a 51-vote majority.

About half of Americans (51%) disapprove of Roe v Wade being overturned, with 34% approving — a greater margin for disapproval than was found in the latest Economist/YouGov survey, which began a few days earlier. Fewer are unsure (6%) or say they neither approve nor disapprove (9%) of the Supreme Court ending the constitutional right to abortion. When asked whether Biden and Congress have the power to ensure abortion access for Americans, Americans are much more likely to say that Congress (49%) could do anything as to say President Biden could (29%).

Even if Congress could act, many who believe the legislative branch has that power say it is unlikely to use it. By 45% to 23%, people who believe Congress could ensure abortion access for all Americans say Congress “definitely will not” or is “unlikely” to try to ensure abortion access for all Americans. One-third (32%) of this group say there is a 50% chance of it happening.

Among people who believe Biden holds the same power, opinion is split on the likelihood that he will use it: 32% say he likely or definitely will and 30% say he likely or definitely won't. Nearly half of Americans (46%) say they disapprove of how President Biden is handling the issue of abortion. Fewer than half (44%) of Democrats approve, with 24% saying they neither approve nor disapprove. Just 20% of Democrats outright disapprove of how Biden is handling this issue.

— Carl Bialik, Taylor Orth, and Oana Dumitru contributed to this article.

This poll was conducted on June 27 - 30, 2022 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this YouGov poll on the Senate filibuster and the Supreme Court, Congress, and Joe Biden in a Post-Roe America

Image: Getty

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