Abortion rights demonstrators rally on the National Mall in Washington, during protests across the country, on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)
Abortion rights demonstrators rally on the National Mall in Washington, during protests across the country, on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

These developments include: a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade; state bans on abortion that don’t include exceptions for rape or incest; and a possible national abortion ban. 

Need to Know

  • Forty-seven percent of likely voters said they felt “worried” about recent developments regarding abortion rights, while more than four in 10 reported feeling “angry” or “sad.” 
  • Twenty-nine percent of Republican respondents said they felt “worried,” while 27% reported feeling “sad.” 
  • Only 13% of Republican likely voters said the recent developments around abortion made them feel “happy,” while one out of every four Republican voters said it made them feel “hopeful.”

MICHIGAN—Voters are feeling despondent about the state of abortion rights, and few Republicans seem enthused by the fact that overturning Roe v. Wade could soon be a reality, according to the results of a new Courier Newsroom/Data for Progress poll.

When asked to choose up to three emotions to describe how they felt about recent developments around abortion, nearly half (47%) of likely voters in the US said they felt “worried,” while more than four in 10 reported feeling “angry” or “sad.” The negative feelings were mostly reported by Democrats and Independents. 

Republican voters, meanwhile, did not report any feelings—either positive or negative—in high numbers. Twenty-nine percent of Republican respondents said they felt “worried,” while 27% reported feeling “sad.” The numbers were even lower for positive emotions. Only 13% of Republican likely voters said the recent developments around abortion made them feel “happy,” while one out of every four Republican voters said it made them feel “hopeful.”

These developments include: a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade; state bans on abortion that don’t include exceptions for rape or incest; and a possible national abortion ban. 

Other polling has shown that voters overwhelmingly oppose the Court overturning Roe. In fact, our latest poll found that a plurality of voters believe such an action would damage the Court’s legitimacy. Nearly half (48%) of respondents—including 69% of Democrats—said that overturning Roe would weaken the Court’s legitimacy. Only 21% of likely voters said striking down Roe would strengthen the Court’s legitimacy, and 31% said it would make no difference. 

Americans also widely oppose a national ban on abortion—an idea the most powerful Republican lawmaker in the country admitted was “possible.”

Sixty-eight percent of likely voters across the country, including majorities of Independents and Republicans, said they oppose a national ban on abortion, with 55% saying they “strongly oppose” it. Only 24% of likely voters would support such a ban, making it a deeply unpopular idea.

And yet, Republicans may pursue it anyway if the US Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade—as a leaked draft opinion suggests they will. 

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently told USA Today that if the Court did ultimately overturn Roe, it’s “possible” that a Republican-led federal government could ban abortion nationwide. 

“If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies—not only at the state level but at the federal level—certainly could legislate in that area,” McConnell said. “So yeah, it’s possible. It would depend on where the votes were.”

In the interview, McConnell also said it was “pretty clear where Senate Republicans stand” on abortion.  

The most powerful anti-abortion groups have been explicit in their plan to push for a total ban on abortion nationwide, if Republicans take back control of the White House, House, and Senate in 2024. According to the Washington Post, a group of Republican Senators has even discussed introducing a bill to ban abortion at around six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

“I think we’re at serious risk,” recently-departed White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month. “Mitch McConnell and other Republicans in Congress are talking about a national ban on a woman’s right to choose.”

Democrats have tried to pass their own bill to codify the right to abortion into federal law. The Women’s Health Protection Act would guarantee abortion access free from medically unnecessary restrictions, limitations, and bans that delay, and at times, completely obstruct, access to abortion. If the proposal were to become law, it would effectively render the Supreme Court’s decision moot and override any state laws banning or restricting abortion access, guaranteeing access to care nationwide. 

The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act earlier this year, but the bill failed in the Senate, as only 49 Democratic Senators—including Michigan Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow—voted to open debate on the legislation, 11 shy of the 60 votes needed. 

Even if Republicans don’t succeed in passing a federal ban, abortion rights are at risk in Michigan. If Roe were to be struck down, the absence of a federal ruling would once again allow states to ban abortion. In Michigan, a 1931 law criminalizing abortion could go back into effect. Under that law—which is the subject of at least two lawsuits and has temporarily been blocked by a Court—it would be a felony for medical providers to perform abortions, unless it’s to save the life of a pregnant woman. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is among those who’ve filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the 1931 ban. In her lawsuit, Whitmer contends the law violates Michigan’s state constitution, which provides a right to privacy and bodily autonomy and guarantees women equal rights. Whitmer has also asked the state Supreme Court to recognize a constitutional right to abortion under Michigan’s constitution.

The governor’s possible Republican opponents this November have all expressed support for abortion bans. If a Republican wins the governor’s seat come November, Michigan could soon see its 1931 ban upheld, or a similarly regressive one passed into law.

“Abortion rights are on the ballot this year and voters will remember it was because of Republicans’ unrelenting, decades-long, radical war on health care and the right to choose that Michigan could possibly return back to its 1931 draconian ban on abortion,” Alyssa Bradley, a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we re-elect Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel and elect a Democratic majority in the state legislature, because Democrats are the only people who will fight to keep Radical Republicans out of our doctors’ offices and out of our bedrooms.”

The Michigan Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Methodology: From May 13 to 17, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,109 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.