Make no mistake about it, Oklahoma is a pro-life state. The latest SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll asked likely voting Oklahomans about their views on abortion, regulations on abortion clinics, and whether they consider themselves to be pro-life or pro-choice. More than two-thirds (68.7%) considered themselves to be pro-life in Oklahoma.
Nationally, the trend has been slowly moving towards pro-life over the last two decades, and spent the six years near equally divided. But, the most recent results of this national survey shows a move toward pro-choice, and this illustrates just how differently Oklahomans are on this issue compared to the rest of the nation.
Seventy-nine (79%) percent of Republicans consider themselves to be pro-life, which is not uncommon among Republicans at the national level. But in Oklahoma, 57 percent of Democrats are pro-life with 47 percent identifying as “strongly pro-life,” making Oklahoma Democrats the near opposite of their national counterparts who are clearly the driving force in the pro-choice movement.
Sixty percent (60%) of Independents, who make up about eight percent of the electorate in Oklahoma, identify themselves as pro-life with 43 percent “strongly pro-life.”
Women are also a sharp divider between Oklahoma and the nation as a whole on this issue. In Oklahoma, 68 percent of women are pro-life whereas nationally 54 percent of women consider themselves as pro-choice. An astounding 59 percent of women in Oklahoma consider themselves to be “strongly pro-life.”
At the national level, single women particularly, are very pro-choice, but in Oklahoma 65 percent of single women identify themselves as pro-life. Married women in Oklahoma are five points more likely to identify as pro-life, but are nearly ten points more likely to identify as “strongly pro-life” than single women.
“This is significant,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com, who went on to note that the Democrat pro-choice message is one of the reasons why Oklahoma is such a red state. “The national Democrats driving the pro-choice message and the state Democratic Party embracing it, is not only pushing Oklahoma Democrats to the Republican Party, but women as well.”
It is worth noting that young adults at the national level, while typically more likely to support abortion under any circumstances, are becoming less supportive and are now roughly tied with seniors in their view to make abortion illegal in all circumstances. This can also be seen in Oklahoma where 58 percent of those 18 to 34 years of age identify as pro-life.
Poll respondents were also asked if they supported or opposed the Oklahoma legislature taking steps to protect women by passing safer regulations on abortion clinic practices, and 54 percent supported it overall. Among Republicans, the support was 57 percent, while slightly more than a majority of Democrats supported it (51.7%).
Support for safer regulations was universal among both pro-life and pro-choice Oklahomans, with 52 percent of pro-lifers and 57 percent of pro-choicers.
“The pro-choice position that abortions should be ‘safe, legal and rare’ is resonating with both pro-choice and pro-life Oklahomans — or, for pro-lifers at least the safe and rare part,” said Shapard.
|1. Strongly support||41.2|
|2. Somewhat support||14.1|
|3. Neutral/DK/No opinion [DNR]||9.8|
|4. Somewhat oppose||15.5|
|5. Strongly oppose||19.4|
Likely voting Oklahomans were also asked whether they would support or oppose the legislature prohibiting abortions altogether with the only exception of saving the life of the mother. Fifty-five percent supported the move, while ten percent were undecided and 35 percent opposed. Roughly half of all Democrats and women supported the abortion prohibition.
This is the first time SoonerPoll has asked these particular questions. Eight years ago, however, a SoonerPoll found three out of four Oklahomans said “it was a medical decision for a woman and her doctor,” but results were mixed for what those circumstances should be — and who should make the decision.
“Since then it would appear that Oklahomans’ views on abortion are changing just like at the national level,” said Shapard, “only Oklahomans have rapidly become more pro-life than the nation as a whole.”
“Without a doubt, this has contributed to Oklahoma’s move from a Democrat majority state to a Republican majority state.”
In 2010, another poll showed Oklahomans supported the controversial abortion law that was passed after Governor Brad Henry’s veto of the bill was overridden in the Senate.
About the Poll
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll, and commissioned by the group Protect Life and Marriage Oklahoma.
The scientific study was conducted from September 1-15, 2015 with 403 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by political party and age in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.
The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.88 percent.
This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.