Quote of the Day

[Content Note: War on agency.]

"When you get in a focus group with people and you show them the entirely of the restrictions and exactly what's going on, there is total outrage—it's unlike anything I've ever seen in fifteen years of doing public opinion research."Tresa Undem, a public opinion researcher for nonprofits, on using "a graph that gives people a visual representation of how many different abortion laws are in place in their state, and when those laws were passed" during focus groups, and how it reveals that, when people know what's actually happening to abortion access in the United States, there is none of the "closely divided" opinion an abortion about which we hear so much in the media.
You won't necessarily get meaningful results from asking Americans whether they're satisfied with the country's current abortion policies, or whether there should be more or fewer abortion restrictions in place, because people have no sense of the current landscape. There's a big information gap. Undem says that when she asks people in focus groups to tell her what laws currently govern abortion, most people don't know or are simply guessing. Most people say that abortion is easily accessible and covered by most insurance plans (it's not), and they have no idea what it actually costs (a lot). If you want to measure people's opinions about reality, Undem pointed out, you have to first inform them about what that reality is.

...Plus, questions about constitutional law may not be particularly relevant to most people. "Abortion has been legal for 40 years. So part of me wonders why we're still polling on legality," Undem told ThinkProgress. "I think a more accurate picture comes from when you're asking about what the public wants for someone who's decided to have an abortion."

That's one of the areas that Undem experimented with in the poll she recently conducted for Vox. She asked respondents a series of questions about what they believed a woman's abortion experience should look like. If a woman wanted to have an abortion, would they want her experience to be "comfortable," "supportive," "without pressure," "non-judgmental," "affordable," "informed by medically-accurate information," or "without added burdens"?

A large majority of respondents — at least 69 percent — said "yes" for each of those descriptors, suggesting there's consensus about how Americans want women to be treated after they choose to seek an abortion.
There is much, much more at the link.

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