F Rosa Rubicondior: How The SCOTUS Now Represents an Extremist Minority of Americans

Friday 15 July 2022

How The SCOTUS Now Represents an Extremist Minority of Americans

Political and Religious Activation and Polarization in the Wake of the Roe v. Wade Overturn | PRRI

A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) into attitudes to abortion and the overturning of Roe vs Wade shows the extent to which the ruling represents the viewpoint of a small, extremist religious minority of Americans - white evangelical Christians. But there are signs that this extremist minority may have shot themselves in the foot in this case.

The following charts tell their own story.

While the view amongst Republicans that abortion should be legal in the USA has remained steady between 2010 and 2022 at 35%; the same view of 'All Americans', i.e, the average across all political leanings, has gone up to 65% pulled upwards by a massive increase in the percentage of Democrats who think it should be legal (88%, up from 71% in 2010). What should be worrying Republicans, however, is not so much that so many Democrats disagree with them but by how Americans voters say they will vote for candidates who agree with them on the issue of abortion. 32% say they will only vote for candidates who share their view on legalisation of abortion (up from just 20% in 2010. This is also more strongly the intention of Democrats (up from 17% to 43%) while the same figure for Republican voters fell marginally, from 32 to 31%. In other words, reversal of Rowe vs Wade has resulted in more Democrats (and more Americans overall) intending to vote for candidates who think abortion should be legal in the USA., and those candidates will most likely be Democrat or Independent.

It has also raised the importance of abortion as a political issue for more Americans (34% - up from 20% in 2020, when the issue was believed to have been settled by Roe vs Wade).

Opposition to overturning Roe vs Wade has polarised most American partisan and religious groups, but the only ones to have shifted in favour of it are, as expected, white evangelical Protestants and Republicans who have both moved sharply towards the party line, opposition to it having fallen from 46% and 48% respectively to 30% and 33% respectively, but it should worry the Republicans that a third of their base are opposed to what they'll claim is a major political success. All other demographics have become more strongly opposed to it.

Similar shifts have occurred by religious affiliation as well. White evangelical Protestants are least likely to oppose the overturn (30%), even though 46% had opposed it in March. Sizeable majorities of other religious affiliations, including Black Protestants (76%), the religiously unaffiliated (75%), Hispanic Catholics (72%), non-Christian religious Americans (69%), white mainline Protestants (68%), and white Catholics (62%), are opposed to the Supreme Court’s action in overturning Roe. All of these groups except non-Christian religious Americans and the religiously unaffiliated have become more likely to oppose the overturn since March.
The survey also showed to what extent opposition to abortion is being handed down from the pulpit, with the most religious in terms of regular church attendance being the most strongly opposed to it:
Those who say religion is the most important thing in their life are least likely to oppose overturning Roe (37%), compared to 60% of those who say religion is one of the most important things, 70% of those who say it’s not as important as other things, and 78% who say it is not important at all.
A majority of Americans now think the Congress should make abortion legal (53% against 12% who want it banned). So it is becoming clear that SCOTUS represented the opinions of a small minority of Americans (the white evangelical Protestants) and that by allying themselves with these religious, misogynistic, anti-human rights Talibangelical extremists, the Republican Party has hitched its wagon to a shambling donkey that looks to be on its last legs.

Overturning Roe vs Wade has shown them to be what they are and many Americans are repulsed by what they see. Hopefully, this will have been a Pyrrhic victory for the forces of American Christo-fascist nationalism and a wake-up call for the forces of democracy, human rights, and female bodily autonomy.

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