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MinnPost poll: In wake of Dobbs ruling, Minnesotans remain supportive of abortion rights in many cases

Minnesotans also tended to express support for abortion in specific scenarios, including in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the woman is at stake.

Attendees of the abortion rights march and protest at the Minnesota State Capitol on July 17, 2022.
Attendees of the abortion rights march and protest at the Minnesota State Capitol on July 17, 2022.

A new MinnPost/Embold Research poll found two-thirds of Minnesotans would oppose the state outlawing abortions, a share consistent with an earlier poll’s findings in June. 

Sixty-seven percent of the respondents to the poll — conducted between Oct. 10 and Oct. 14 — said they would oppose a complete abortion ban — which would bar abortion in any circumstances, including 56% who said they would strongly oppose such a ban. The share who said they would support an outright ban has remained similar, at 29% in June, compared to 26% in October.  Crosstabs for the poll can be found here.

While many states have limited or banned most abortions in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, in Minnesota, an all-out abortion ban is somewhat hypothetical: Doe v. Gomez, a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, recognized the right to an abortion under the Minnesota Constitution. Still, the poll’s question about a ban gets at Minnesotan’s feelings about reproductive rights and the national atmosphere on the issue.

Minnesotans’ widespread opposition to an abortion ban mirrors national polls, said Cynthia Rugeley, an associate professor and department head of political science at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

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“When you’re looking at that kind of margin, more than 60% and more than 70%, that’s big. It’s still overwhelming support for abortion rights,” Rugeley said. “Overall, it looks like most people in Minnesota, most of these respondents anyway, do support the right to abortion,” Rugeley said.

Poll results: Support or opposition for abortion ban
Q: More specifically, please indicate whether abortion should be legal or illegal in each of the following cases:
Note: The modeled margin of error is +/-2.6 percentage points.
Source: MinnPost/Embold Research

While the poll found high levels of support for abortion, it wasn’t universal.

Among Republicans, 36% would oppose an abortion ban, compared to 78% of independents and 95% of Democrats. The poll also found that a higher percentage of women oppose bans on abortion compared to men, with 72% of the women opposing outlawing abortions compared to 63% of men. 

The majority of people in Minneapolis and St. Paul (80%), Twin Cities suburbs (65%) and in Greater Minnesota (58%) oppose a total abortion ban, though the degree of opposition varies significantly by region.

“I was actually kinda surprised that that many people out in Greater Minnesota oppose a ban,” Rugeley said. “You would expect it to be less (in Greater Minnesota) because people tend to be more socially and economically conservative, so you’d expect it to be less, but at the same time, there’s a little bit of a libertarian strain too that comes into play.”

Rugeley said the poll suggests a majority of people in Greater Minnesota favor abortion rights, but it’s not necessarily one of the issues that they might change their vote because of. 

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White people and people of color opposed bans on abortion at the same rates, the poll found. Women of color oppose abortion bans at higher rates than white women, white men and men of color. 

People with more education were also more likely to oppose an abortion ban: Opposition rates for bans are higher among college-educated Minnesotans (75%) compared to non-college-educated voters (60%).

Case- by- case basis

The MinnPost/Embold poll also asked respondents about their support for abortion in specific scenarios. 

Poll results: Support or opposition for abortion in specific scenarios
Q: More specifically, please indicate whether abortion should be legal or illegal in each of the following cases:
Note: The modeled margin of error is +/-2.6 percentage points.
Source: MinnPost/Embold Research

That support was broad in most cases: A vast majority of people, 90% of those surveyed, said abortion should be legal when needed to save the mother’s life; 85% said it should be legal in cases of incest; 84% thought it should be legal in cases of rape and 76% said it should be legal in cases where the pregnancy is not viable. 

Support is less widespread for abortion with no restrictions: 47% said they support abortion “in all instances in which a woman chooses to have an abortion and her doctor is able to perform it safely.”

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Abortion has become a significant campaign issue leading up tot he November election. Many political advertisements — particularly those seeking to help Democrats who support abortion access win — focus on abortion stances.

Overall, the poll found abortion as a top priority for people who are voting this November, only second to the rising cost of goods.

Rugeley said – and the poll suggests — that most Minnesotans who list abortion as a top concern going into the election are Democrats, while Republicans are more focused on inflation, gas prices and crime.

“Where it’s interesting to me with Minnesota, our laws say abortion is OK, our governor said abortion is OK. But people are still rating it as a very important issue. You would expect in a state like this where most people perceive that it’s a right, that it wouldn’t be that important because they think ‘they’re not gonna do away with it,’” Rugeley said. “But it does seem like after the Supreme Court decision that people are really taking the possibility that it could be made illegal seriously.” 

Methodology note

The poll was conducted from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14, and respondents included 1,585 likely general election voters. The poll was conducted by Embold Research, the nonpartisan arm of Change Research. The pollsters recruit respondents via targeted ads on websites and social media platforms. Change Research has a B- pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight.

Embold Research uses a “modeled” margin of error, which it says accounts for the effects of weighting the poll (or making adjustments to better reflect the state’s demographics). The results were weighted on age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, and 2020 presidential vote.