Pennsylvania voters largely trust Biden over Trump on abortion

Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly trust President Joe Biden more than former President Donald Trump on abortion policy – an issue that could prove pivotal for Biden as he follows Trump on other key issues in the state.

The poll, conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times and Siena College, asked Pennsylvania voters which candidate would do a better job on four issues – abortion, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, crime and the economy.

Abortion is the only one Biden has led on.

While Trump polled higher in every other category, voters trusted Biden on abortion by a significant margin of 20 points. And 66% of respondents, when asked separately, said Trump bore some or much responsibility for the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and abolition of the right to abortion.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,023 registered voters between April 28 and May 7.

Biden made abortion rights a central issue of his campaign in Pennsylvania, speaking on the issue in Delaware County the day after the State of the Union.

Trump boasted about his role in paving the way for the Supreme Court’s decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which abolished federal abortion rights. But he sent mixed messages on the issue during the campaign, expressing support for a 15-week federal ban earlier this year and more recently saying it should be left to the states.

“Now everything depends on the will of the citizens in each state. Some states will be more conservative and some states will be more liberal,” Trump said Saturday at his rally in Wildwood.

The numbers show Pennsylvanians’ continued frustration with the decline of federal protections for abortion rights, as Biden continues to make reproductive rights a central tenet of his re-election campaign.

“The day the Dobbs decision was announced, I was screaming at the TV,” said Heidi Carroll, 51, of Washington, D.C., in western Pennsylvania.

She plans to vote for Biden and hopes the federal government will restore abortion rights.

Pennsylvania is unlikely to change its abortion laws in the next few years. Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has vowed to veto any legislation restricting access to abortion, and the GOP-controlled state Senate will not approve any abortion expansion.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court nearly ruled abortion access a right protected by the state constitution, but three of the five judges on the case signaled they were open to such a ruling in the future.

According to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundationhealth policy research group, in the past two years, 14 states have enacted full or near-total abortion bans, and five more enforce restrictions on abortions between six and twelve weeks of pregnancy.

As the effects of these bans spread across the country, including stories of women being forced into unsafe and infertile pregnancies, abortion emerged as a stern voting issue for Democrats.

In every vote on this issue since the June 2022 decision, voters have voted for abortion rights.

The poll found that voters in the state are in line with national trends, as 65% of voters believe abortion should be always or mostly legal, while just 27% said it should always or mostly be illegal.

Jennifer Marvelous, a 53-year-old Biden voter from Philadelphia who cited abortion as her top issue, said that positions on abortion “have a lot to do with how leaders view women in general.”

She said that if Trump wins re-election, she expects abortion rights in the country to continue to be threatened.

But Carroll said she wasn’t sure either candidate would make much of a difference. Trump has said the issue should be left to the states, but Biden, she noted, “hasn’t done anything yet to improve the situation.”

Biden’s ability to attract enormous numbers of abortion-motivated voters will be key to his re-election chances in November. And the campaign knows it.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Montgomery County last week for a reproductive rights event, where she sharply criticized Trump for his role in appointing judges who overturned Roe v. Wade.

“We just have to call it what it is,” Harris said. “Don’t you trust women to know what’s in their best interest?”

However, Biden does not enjoy widespread support among voters who believe abortion should be legal. The poll found that Trump supporters are divided on the issue: 42% believe abortion should be legal and 46% believe it should be illegal or mostly illegal.

One voter, 68-year-old Kathe Sobczak, explained that she believed abortion should be an option in many cases, but called it “insane” to have an abortion in the eighth month of pregnancy. During a Saturday rally after polls ended, Trump spoke about abortion at eight and nine months.

However, such slow abortions are extremely scarce. This is indicated by the latest CDC data on abortion across the country less than 1% of abortions occurred after the 21st week of pregnancy. Several states, including Pennsylvania, restrict abortion around the time the fetus reaches viability at 24 weeks. In Pennsylvania, patients can seek an abortion only after the 23rd week pregnancy if their health is at risk.

Sobczak said her opinion was formed after a friend from her Catholic high school died after trying to get a “back door abortion.”

“I believe in legal abortion. I never forgot,” said Sobczak, who lives in Philadelphia. But she said only about 5% of her votes were based on abortion.

“My vote for Donald Trump is not really because of the abortion issue, but because of the economy. “My position on abortion is strong for me and I know what he thinks about it, but my vote for him is really about the economy and other issues and food prices,” she said.

“If it were Joe Biden, I would be concerned about expanding access.”

The New York Times’ Gillian McGoldrick, Camille Baker and Shivani Gonzalez contributed to this article.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts