Should Roe v. Wade be overturned? New poll shows Utahns are divided, but 4th District voters support the landmark decision

Utahns are split over whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade, should stay the law of the land or be overturned, a new poll finds.

The question is timely as the U.S. Senate battles over the confirmation of high court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Before his hearings went crazy over sexual misconduct allegations from when he was a young man, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee tried to get Kavanaugh to commit to upholding Roe v. Wade.

Many Supreme Court watchers say his conservative vote on Roe could make early-term abortions once again illegal in the United States.

But all that Kavanaugh would say is that he considers Roe v. Wade “settled law.”

In the past, that has assumed Roe would stand, since rarely does the high court overturn “settled law.”

More recently, however, the term is seen as opening the door to overturning Roe v. Wade, for in the past some “settled law,” like “separate but equal” for African-Americans, was consider settled law until the high court overruled it.

In any case, pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds:

— 44 percent of Utahns want to keep the 1973 Roe v. Wade as the abortion law of the land.

— 37 percent say it should be overturned, allowing the outlawing of abortions in the U.S.

— 19 percent don’t know.


That actually is a rather high “don’t know” number – as one would think Utahns would know the abortion ruling by name and have an opinion on it.

But the high “don’t know” runs through some demographic categories in the survey.

Other findings:

Not a great surprise, Utah men and women have very different opinions on the abortion ruling:

— Men want it overturned, 41-39 percent.

— Women want to keep it, 49-33 percent.

Younger Utahns, who have lived all or most of their lives with Roe in place, favor it.

— Those who are 18-24 years old want to keep Roe, 44-32 percent.

— 25-34 year olds want it, 45-26 percent.

— But those over 65 years old want it overturned, 49-38 percent.

The LDS Church teaches that abortion is a sin, but it can take place with the advice of lay leaders.

Jones finds:

— “Very active” Mormons want Roe v. Wade overturned, 52-24 percent. But, still, a fourth of very active Mormons want to keep Wade.

— Those who told Jones they are “somewhat” active in their LDS faith are split, 40 percent want it, 40 percent don’t.

— Those who used to belong to the LDS Church, but have left the faith, favor Roe v. Wade, 63-18 percent.

The Catholic Church says members can’t have an abortion. But, of course, U.S. Catholics have long now not paid attention to that teaching.

— Utah Catholics support Roe v. Wade, 81-10 percent.

— Protestants support it, 69-21 percent.

— Those of other religions support it, 67-19 percent.

— And those who said they have no religion want to keep Roe v. Wade, 80-7 percent.

UtahPolicycom has been watching closely the race between GOP Rep. Mia Love and Democrat Ben McAdams in the 4th Congressional District – particularly how 4th District voters feel about various issues.

Love has been attacking McAdams over abortion, claiming he is pro-choice, even though McAdams, as a practicing Mormon (as is Love) says he takes his church’s stand on the practice.

Jones finds that in the 4th District, 51 percent of voters support Roe v. Wade, while only 28 percent want it overturned. The rest are undecided.

Thus, Love is on the wrong side of the abortion debate among all of her voters – although she is likely just trying to appeal to LDS Republicans in these attacks on McAdams.

Jones polled 809 voters statewide Aug. 22-31. That sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

In the 4th District he polled 204 voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.9 percent.