Pollster says conservative, liberal states are both 'overreaching' on abortion

New abortion laws passed by states at both ends of the political spectrum are not in step with public opinion on the issue, pollster Lee Miringoff told Hill.TV.

“Both sides are overreaching for different reasons,” Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said during an interview that aired Monday.

“Some of them want to get to the Supreme Court, some are being driven by advocates,” he said. “But the bottom line in this is that independents seem to move in the opposite direction of where the thrust of public policy is.”

Miringoff cited recent abortion laws passed in New York and Alabama as prime examples.

While New York lawmakers approved approved legislation expanding women’s access to abortions, Alabama passed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law.

“What happened was after the New York, more-liberal law that actually chased some people away from the pro-choice position to the pro-life and actually became 47-47, which was really unusual,” he said. “But now with what’s been going on from the more conservative side in Alabama, Missouri and other states, the numbers have reverted back to where they were prior to New York.”

Miringoff joined Hill.TV's “Rising” to discuss a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey released last week that found 57 percent of respondents identified as "pro-choice," while 35 percent called themselves "pro-life." That marked a shift from a similar poll in February, when results for both sides were at 47 percent.

Twenty-six percent of respondents in the recent survey said they are satisfied with abortion laws in the U.S., and a majority said they want Roe v. Wade to be amended or upheld rather than overturned.

Miringoff explained that Americans' views on abortion are more nuanced than what the current public debate would suggest.

“The public really is nuanced along that continuum, which is why it moves around and it’s also why pro-choice and pro-life are probably labels that don’t really nail where the public is,” he told Hill.TV.

—Tess Bonn