UWYO Conducted A Survey On Wyoming’s Opinion on Abortion
According to a release by the University of Wyoming, the institute's survey found Wyoming's public opinion on abortion has changed little over the past 20 years.
The abortion issue has been a matter of national political debate over the past five decades, with the debate intensifying with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.
The study was conducted via a statewide telephone survey of 524 Wyoming citizens, in October, with follow-up interviews conducted after the November 8 general election. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
Jim King, the survey’s director and a UW professor of political science says, “our most recent poll of Wyoming residents shows respondents evenly divided between two perspectives on abortion policy. 36 percent view abortion as a matter of personal choice, and 36 percent accept abortion in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the woman.”
He adds that 19 percent favor abortion if other reasons are clearly established, while 7 percent prefer abortion be banned altogether. According to King, the most recent survey’s findings mirror those from 20 years ago.
“In our 2002 survey, 39 percent of respondents said abortion was a matter of personal choice, 33 percent accepted the exceptions for rape or incest, and 11 percent favored a total ban on abortion,” he says.
When the margins of error in the surveys are taken into consideration, the results show no change in opinion on abortion over these two decades.
“For the most part, the Republican Party has adopted platforms that have increasingly been opposed to abortion, while the Democrats have generally supported the pro-choice position. We see similar partisan divisions within the Wyoming electorate,” King adds.
For instance, seven of eight Democrats in the sample (88%), said abortion should be a matter of personal choice, while one of five Republicans (20%), hold this view. Instead, nearly half of Republicans, 48%, favored allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the woman, and 20% indicated a more ambiguous response that abortion might be permitted if a “need could be established.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returns questions of abortion policy to elected representatives. Opinions on abortion had a small but noticeable impact on voters’ choices between Republican Harriet Hageman and Democrat Lynnette Grey Bull.
Democrats overwhelmingly viewed abortion as a matter of personal choice and cast their ballots for Grey Bull. More than a quarter of pro-choice Republicans (29%), reported voting for Grey Bull as well.
A similar pattern is evident among independents, with Grey Bull receiving the votes of 88% of independents favoring the pro-choice position. Survey respondents favoring other positions on abortion supported Hageman by wide margins.
Opinion on the abortion question had little bearing on the election for governor, as substantial majorities within each position on abortion favored incumbent Mark Gordon over Democratic challenger Theresa Livingston.