A poll released Aug. 24 by the Berkeley Institute of Government Studies, or IGS, found that 71% of polled voters support an amendment to the state constitution that would establish a right to reproductive freedom, thus guaranteeing the right to abortion and contraceptive access.
The poll was one of the IGS’s regularly scheduled online surveys of California’s registered voter population. This survey, which was administered over the course of seven days in August, asked more than 9,000 registered California voters several questions about the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and its impact in California, according to Mark Di Camillo, the institute’s director.
“We found that eight in 10 voters consider abortion to be important to them when voting in this year’s congressional, state and local elections,” Di Camillo said. “With that kind of importance, I think abortion is becoming one of the more salient issues on voters’ minds when they go to the polls in November.”
The survey found that 68% of voters disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and 66% are concerned about the possible reversal of other constitutionally protected rights, such as same-sex marriage and access to contraceptives.
The poll also asked voters about Proposition 1, which, if passed in November, would amend the California constitution to establish a right to reproductive freedom. According to Di Camillo, it would prohibit the state from interfering with an individual’s right to abortion.
“Californians, according to the results of the poll, consider abortion an important issue in this year’s election and voters appear ready to approve Proposition 1,” Di Camillo said.
While safeguards to the right to abortion have long existed in California, in the wake of a leak that suggested the Court was prepared to overturn Roe, California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a $125 million reproductive health package. Among other things, the package supports individuals travelling to California from other states where abortion is banned, according to the National Law Review. Soon thereafter in June, Newsom signed an executive order ensuring California’s commitment to reproductive health.
Proposition 1, DiCamillo noted, would serve as an important additional safeguard to reproductive freedom in California.
According to Di Camillo, the survey only found modest variation among voters of different regions, ages, races and ethnicities, with a vast majority of voters overwhelmingly supporting abortion access. The most notable differences were found between those of different political ideologies and genders: Democrats and women are far more likely to disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling than Republicans and men, Di Camillo added.
“Those two constituencies may have a differential impact in terms of turnout which, in a close election … could make the difference,” Di Camillo said.