Michael New writes for National Review Online about a new poll with limited value as an indicator of public views about abortion.

Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released the results of a new survey on sanctity-of=life issues. They polled over 1,300 adults in late February through both phone surveys and online surveys. The results purportedly show strong support for legal abortion in certain circumstances. The results show that those voters who are prioritizing abortion in 2024 are disproportionately supportive of legal abortion. The results of this poll have been covered by media outlets including the Associated Press, NewsNation, the Hill, Axios, National Public Radio, and CNN.

That said, the survey questions involving abortion policy provide little useful information about public attitudes toward abortion. That is because the wording of some questions is skewed to elicit responses in favor of legal abortion. For instance, one question frames abortion as a health-care issue. Another asks about abortion in the case of a “pregnancy emergency.” Furthermore, a body of polling data shows that responses to survey questions can often be influenced by previous questions. (So it is not surprising that this survey shows lower levels of support for a 16-week abortion ban than did the Economist/YouGov survey in February.) The Kaiser poll did not ask about taxpayer funding for abortion, parental-involvement laws, or other incremental pro-life laws that enjoy broad public support.

However, the poll does contain some useful information about the politics of abortion. The results indicate that only about 12 percent of voters cite abortion as the most important issue to their vote in 2024. Another 52 percent of voters state that abortion is a very important issue but not the most important. More significantly, those voters who cite abortion as the most important issue are 19 percentage points more likely than all voters to say that abortion “should be legal in all cases.” That adds to a body of polling data showing that, since Dobbs, supporters of legal abortion are prioritizing abortion and are more likely to vote for candidates who favor legal abortion.