New Poll: Planned Parenthood Videos Have Not Changed People’s Minds On Abortion

The anti-abortion group the Center For Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of heavily-edited videos of Planned Parenthood employees that they claim shows employees talking about selling body parts of aborted fetuses, with the hope of reshaping public opinion on abortion, as well as on Planned Parenthood. It remains to be seen whether CMP’s allies in congress will be successful in defunding Planned Parenthood, but a new CNN/ORC poll shows that the videos have not moved the needle on the abortion debate at all.

ORC International conducted the telephone poll of 1,012 adults between September 4-8. Poll questions covered a variety of domestic issues. When it comes to questions surrounding abortion, the poll shows that the “sting” videos released by CMP have had absolutely no effect on what Americans think about the issue.

The poll asked “Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under only certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?” This is the second time since the CMP videos were released that an ORC poll has asked that question. In August, 30 percent said that abortion should be legal under any circumstances, while 51 percent said it should be legal under certain circumstances. In the most recent poll, those numbers stand at 26 and 54 percent, respectively. The number who believe that abortion should be completely banned has remained constant at 18 percent. So the CMP videos have changed almost nobody’s opinion on abortion.

Going back to 2006, poll results show that the number of Americans who think that abortions should be legal under any or certain circumstances has climbed from 74 percent to over 80 percent. Over the same period, the number of those who would like to make abortion completely illegal has dropped from 24 percent to the 18 percent reported in the two most recent polls. Furthermore, the number who want to keep abortions legal at least under certain circumstances beats those who want to ban abortion completely in every demographic group surveyed, even Republicans and conservatives.

Keeping abortions legal under any circumstances also gets more support than banning them in most demographic groups, as well. Supporters of complete freedom of choice on abortion outnumber abortion opponents among men, women, whites, and non-whites. Choice also wins out among all age groups in the survey, including older respondents. Only among Republicans, conservatives, those with household incomes of under $50,000, and those who did not attend college does a complete abortion ban win out over a woman’s right to make her own decision on the matter.

Tea Party supporters, who you think might be the most likely to be swayed by the CMP videos, support abortion rights under certain circumstances over a total ban, by 58 percent to 26 percent. Even 15 percent of Tea Partiers support a woman’s right to choose, for whatever reason.

So if David Daleiden and the Center For Medical Progress thought that they would change people’s minds on abortion as well as Planned Parenthood with their series of undercover videos, it appears that they have failed. In addition to changing few if any minds about abortion, the group has apparently failed to influence people’s opinions on Planned Parenthood, either. But what they may have done is cause a lot of legal troubles for themselves. Abortion rights groups have filed complaints alleging that the group engaged in a campaign to harass abortion providers, and the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington (CREW), has asked the IRS to look into CMP’s tax exempt status.

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