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Abortion rights activists shout slogans on day two of the Democratic National Convention, in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5, 2012. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)  Abortion rights activists shout slogans on day two of the Democratic National Convention, in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5, 2012. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)   

Poll: Majority of Americans now support legal abortion in all or most cases

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade a new poll reveals that for the first time, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday further found that more than seven in ten Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court decision which sealed abortion as a woman’s right. According to the Wall Street Journal, that is the highest level of support since 1989, when polls began looking at the public’s perception of the ruling.

According to the poll, 31 percent believe abortion should always be legal, 23 percent believe that it should be legal in most cases, 35 percent believe it should be illegal with exceptions and nine percent believe it should be illegal without exceptions. Two percent were not sure.

Just 24 percent believe Roe should be overturned compared to 70 percent who do not.

Abortion and Roe have been polarizing topics and in recent years have informed much of the conversation surrounding women’s issues.

“These are profound changes,” Republican pollster Bill McInturff who, with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, conducted the poll, told NBC News.

According to McInturff, the rhetoric surrounding the 2012 elections — specifically two Republican congressional candidates who made controversial comments about rape — helped to “contribute” to the results of the poll.

Much of the shift, the Wall Street Journal reports, is due to more Democrats, specifically more Hispanics and African-Americans favoring abortion, as well as a few more Republicans.

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