In 2008, a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that those in favor of keeping abortion legal outnumbered opponents by 54 to 40 percent. The new poll, also conducted by Pew researchers, and released on Thursday, showed that the gap had narrowed considerably: 47 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 45 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases — a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error.
Michael New has some comments on how Obama’s inability to make a reasoned case for the pro-choice viewpoint could have played a factor in this change.
However, an overlooked reason for this shift in public opinion is because the most visible pro-choice elected official in America is really not a very articulate proponent of abortion rights. When asked about sanctity-of-life issues, President Obama almost never defends legal abortion. Instead, President Obama seems a little dodgy and somewhat evasive. He often mentions the need to find common ground an expresses and interest in trying to reduce the abortion rate. Now on the policy side, he has done nothing to offer much encouragement to pro-lifers. However, President Obama's unwillingness to make a solid case for legal abortion is likely weakening pro-choice sentiment.