According to the survey, 46% say that abortion is wrong from a moral view. But the 47% who say it is adequate is an all-time high by two percentage points in two decades that the question has been calculated.
Different results from the poll show:
The largest rift about the morality of abortion was in 2009, when 56% said it was probably wrong and only 36% said it was adequate. That rift, for the most part, has considerably narrowed over the past decade.
Among Democrats, 64% say that abortion is morally acceptable, which is up considerably from a decade ago but slightly down from last year. There has been a clear increase among independents who say abortion is morally acceptable, going up to 51% from only 40% last year. Among Republicans, only 26% think abortion to be morally acceptable, a number that has remained nearly steady over the past number of years.
The public is also equally divided among those who personally identify as "pro-choice" (49%) and those who think of themselves as "pro-life" (47%). The gap between the two views has remained constant over the past eight years, although pro-life and pro-choice have traded off being the leading view during that time period.
Democrats largely consider themselves to be pro-choice (70%), while almost three-fourths of Republicans say they are pro-life (74%). Independents are pro-choice by a considerable gap, 53%, compared to only 41% who say they are pro-life.
Americans live much more likely to consider abortion should be legal "only under certain circumstances" (48%) than to support it being legal "under any circumstances" (32%) or "illegal in all circumstances" (19%). Nearly one-third of U.S. adults who back fully legal abortions are the highest such percentage since the early to mid-1990s, when it was consistently at that level.
Outcomes for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews carried between May 3 and May 18, with a random sample of 1,016 adults. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
The divisiveness is playing out mostly in state governments, with a number of Republican-controlled states working to legislate greater abortion restrictions. These laws may violate what is permitted by prior Supreme Court rulings, and they are being challenged in courts before they can take effect.