Most Florida voters oppose abortion bans, polls show

When surveys have asked about limits to abortion access, a majority has consistently said “no.”
Hundreds marched in support of abortion rights in St. Petersburg in October.
Hundreds marched in support of abortion rights in St. Petersburg in October. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published May 3, 2022|Updated May 3, 2022

Repeatedly, as courts and lawmakers have proposed rolling back abortion rights, most Florida voters have said they want to protect them.

In several recent statewide surveys, the majority of people polled believed abortions should generally be legal and said they opposed potential bans.

A leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion published Monday showed the nation’s highest court may be poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that has protected abortion rights for decades.

The news came just weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Related: Will Florida Republicans ban abortion? Here's what we know.

In February, after the state House of Representatives passed that bill, 57 percent of a sample of registered voters told pollsters with the University of North Florida that they opposed it, while 34 percent supported it. Opposition was slightly higher when pollsters noted the law included no exceptions for rape or incest.

“The fact that the responses weren’t terribly different speaks to the highly partisan and emotional nature of the abortion debate,” Michael Binder, faculty director of the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab, said at the time. “People tend to know where they stand on the issue.”

Seventy-four percent of Democrats, 63 percent of minor party or no-party voters and 35 percent of Republicans opposed the bill. The gender split was much smaller: 58 percent of women opposed it compared to 56 percent of men.

Meanwhile, an October survey from Saint Leo University found 50 percent of voters opposed Florida enacting a law similar to the recent Texas ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, while 42 percent supported it.

During the 2020 election cycle, an Ipsos/Reuters poll regularly asked likely voters in Florida whether they agreed with the more general statement “abortion should be legal in most cases.” All five times, a majority ranging from 56 to 60 percent agreed, while 35 percent of respondents or fewer disagreed.

One of the most lopsided results came from an October 2020 Quinnipiac poll, which found 68 percent of likely voters agreed in general with Roe v. Wade. Just 23 percent disagreed, the poll found. (That same poll found an 11-point lead for then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump, which was 14 percentage points off the November outcome, one of the biggest errors of any poll of the cycle.)