CBS News poll: Americans react to overturning of Roe v. Wade — most disapprove, call it step backward

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The American public is rendering its initial judgment on the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and most disapprove of the ruling, including two-thirds of women who disapprove. 

By more than a 20-point margin, Americans call it a step backward rather than forward for America. And women, by more than three to one, think the ruling will make women’s lives worse rather than better. 

Those who approve — and in particular, the three-fourths of conservatives who do — say they feel both hopeful and happy. 

As they look ahead, those disapproving of Friday’s ruling are especially likely to think the high court might someday limit or end birth control and also same-sex marriage.

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Views on Roe being overturned divide along partisan lines, though perhaps not as completely as political debate or legislative battles might suggest. One in six Democrats approves, and one in five Republicans disapproves. 

Across demographic groups, younger people are especially likely to disapprove; most moderates disapprove along with nine in 10 liberals; two-thirds of Hispanic Americans disapprove, three-fourths of Black Americans and just over half of White Americans disapprove. 

Approval is high among Republicans, those who identify as conservatives, and evangelical Christians.

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Those who approve of Roe being overturned report feeling hopeful most of all, and happy and relieved. White evangelicals are also particularly likely to express these positive sentiments.

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Those who disapprove of the ruling overwhelmingly report feeling upset, angry and — many add — scared.  These feelings are notably more common among the women who disapprove of the decision, compared to the men who do.

Fewer are surprised, in part, perhaps because the ruling was anticipated for weeks.

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The fact that Democrats are especially disapproving of the decision has made them more critical of how things are going in the country more generally — and that, in turn, has pushed that overall measure even further down. Today, just 19% of Americans feel things in the country are going well.

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In the states, most want abortion to be at least legal, even if restricted, and few want it to be illegal in all cases. Most Republicans would want abortion in their state to be legal in at least some circumstances. A third of Democrats would want it to be legal in most, but not all cases. Americans’ views on this have been fairly steady in the aggregate for years.

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In terms of next steps, a majority support congressional passage of a federal law to make abortion legal nationwide. It’s about the same percentage as those who disapprove of the overturning of Roe.

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While the overturning of Roe has elicited strong feelings, it’s not an issue most Americans say has made them any more or less likely to vote in the midterms this year. But for those who report a change in motivation right now, Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say the Supreme Court’s decision will make them more likely to vote. 

And more Democrats are motivated now by the issue than they were before the decision. Fifty percent of Democrats report this decision will make them more likely to vote, up from 40% last month, when overturning Roe was a possibility, but not yet a reality.

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This CBS News/YouGov survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,591 adults who were recontacted June 24-25 after the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was released, following an initial survey conducted before the decision on June 22-24, 2022 using a nationally representative sample of 2,265 U.S. adults. The margin of error for the total sample in the recontact survey is ±3.0 points.

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