Laws legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage nationwide are more popular than nationwide bans

Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
David MontgomerySenior data journalist
November 03, 2023, 1:40 AM GMT+0

Majorities of Americans say they would support Congress passing laws making abortion and same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Twice as many Americans say they would support each hypothetical law as would back opposing laws banning abortion and same-sex marriage nationwide.

Democrats are more likely to support legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage nationwide, while Republicans are more likely to support banning both nationwide. But while Democrats overwhelmingly support nationwide legalization of abortion (77%, compared to 17% who back a ban) and same-sex marriage (77%, vs. 21% who back a ban), Republicans are more divided, supporting an abortion ban over legalization by 48% to 26%, and a same-sex marriage ban over legalization by 46% to 32%.

Independent voters prefer legalizing abortion (56% vs. 19% who would ban it) and same-sex marriage (58% vs. 20% for a ban).

Same-sex marriage currently is legalized nationwide under the 2022 Respect for Marriage Act. Before that law, same-sex marriage had been legalized by the Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

Abortion currently is neither legalized nor banned at the federal level. Until 2022 it was legal nationwide under Supreme Court decisions such as 1971's Roe v. Wade. The 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to ban abortion.

— Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on October 28 - 31, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Anna Moneymaker)