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Abortion attitudes: The polarization is among richer, more educated whites

Abortion has been in the news lately. A journalist asked me something about abortion attitudes and I pointed to a post from a few years ago about partisan polarization on abortion. Also this with John Sides on why abortion consensus is unlikely. That was back in 2009, and consensus doesn’t seem any more likely today.

It’s perhaps not well known (although it’s consistent with what we found in Red State Blue State) that just about all the polarization on abortion comes from whites, and most of that is from upper-income, well-educated whites. Here’s an incomplete article that Yair and I wrote on this from 2010; we haven’t followed up on it recently.


  1. Alex says:

    Having read both this blog post and the linked Monkey Cage article, I still don’t know what the regression coefficient graphs are showing. Whites are generally more in favor of allowing abortion (the survey is 1 to 4 with 4 meaning always allowed, and the coefficients are positive)? Being white interacts with Party ID on survey response, which means that white Democrats are more pro and white Republicans are more con since Dem is coded as 1 and GOP as -1? From the point you’re making I guess the latter, but the description isn’t jumping out at me.

    • Andrew says:


      You can read the linked article for more description of what we did. The result is not that whites are more in favor of abortion. It’s that abortion attitude predicts party ID more strongly among whites, and in particular among richer and more educated whites, than among others.

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