Louisiana Survey shows growing polarization over abortion 

The final installment of the Louisiana Survey, released today, suggests that Louisiana residents are split almost evenly over whether to maintain legal access to abortions.

The survey, conducted by the LSU Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, found that 49% of the roughly 1,000 residents surveyed opposed legal access to abortions in all or most cases, and 46% supported it.

In a similar survey in 2016, 55% of state residents thought abortion should be illegal in all or most cases while 40% thought it should be legal.

The shift occurred primarily among Democrats. Over the last six years, the level of Democratic support for legal abortions rose to 74% percent from 51%, and the percentage of Democrats opposed to legal abortion fell to 19% from 42%.

The percentage of Republicans who largely opposed legal abortion in most or all cases slipped during those years to 69% from 73%, while the percentage of Republicans supporting legal abortions inched up to 24% from 23%.

Support for legal abortions also gained somewhat among political independents, to 47% in the new survey from 40% in 2016. The share of independents who think that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases fell to 50% from 56% six years ago.

Changes in aggregate opinions are not necessarily from people changing their minds, the survey noted. The people might be switching to parties that better align with their views, or the composition of the parties might be changing with generations of voters.

The Louisiana Survey also says that support for the death penalty for persons convicted of murder has slightly dropped since 2018, to 51% from 58%. See the full report.