Pew graf--abortion & guns.gifThe latest Pew survey shows a significant drop in the support for abortion rights, with the percentage of Americans saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases declining from 54 percent last August to 46 percent today:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 31-April 21 among 1,521 adults reached on landlines and cell phones, also finds public opinion about abortion more closely divided than it has been in several years. Currently, 46% say abortion should be legal in most cases (28%) or all cases (18%); 44% believe that abortion should be illegal in most (28%) or all cases (16%). Since the mid-1990s, majorities have consistently favored legal abortion, with the exception of an August 2001 survey by ABC News/Washington Post.

The survey also shows that 45 percent believe it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns than to control gun ownership–the latter at 49 percent, an almost even divide and a shift from the 58-37 ratio in favor of gun control a year ago.

That is weirdly counterintitutive to me: More abortions, less support for abortions. But more gun violence, more support for gun-owning? (See an excellent recent Bob Herbert column here.) I suspect the economy, fears of violence, the usual go into the mix. Hunting is fine by me. Pistols and assault weapons, not.

Anyway, an interesting factor in the abortion support drop is that Catholics have barely moved. Most of the drop has come among evangelical and mainline Protestants.

They don’t break out mass attendance, unfortunately, and of course there will be endless disputes about what constitutes “most cases,” and thereby who is truly pro-life or pro-choice. 28 percent say abortion should be legal in most cases, 28 percent say illegal in most cases. Both could be construed as pro-choice positions. The outliers on both ends are almost equal: 18 percent saying legal in all cases, 16 percent illegal in all cases.

And of course where you put President Obama probably depends on, well, what you think of President Obama.

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