The Meaninglessness of Opinion Polls on Roe v. Wade

There’s more to the Pew numbers released yesterday than the headlines will tell you. In advance of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the Pew Research Center released a poll on Wednesday finding that 63% of Americans oppose completely overturning the ruling, which created a constitutional right to abortion and legalized most abortions nationally.

Just 29% of Americans want to see the ruling overturned, according to Pew, which added, “These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.”

These are the headlines. But dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that the poll tells us little about Americans’ views on the legality of abortion.