This study demonstrates a shift in thinking when it comes to the issue of abortion. In recent years, the majority of Americans supported the legal status of abortion but these recent numbers indicate that the country is now more evenly divided on the matter.
In commenting on these findings the Pew Center doesn't identify any single issue that has affected the change:
"No single reason for the shift in opinions is apparent, but the pattern of changes suggests that the election of a pro-choice Democrat for president may be a contributing factor. Among Republicans, there has been a seven point decline in support for legal abortion and a corresponding six point increase in opposition to abortion. But the change is smaller among Democrats, whose support for legal abortion is down four points with no corresponding increase in pro-life opinion. Indeed, three groups of President Obama’s strongest supporters – African Americans, young people and those unaffiliated with a religion – have not changed their views on abortion at all. At the same time, fully half of conservative Republicans (52%) – the political group most opposed to abortion – say they worry Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights."It will be interesting to see if this trend continues and what changes will occur if a majority of Americans become opposed to abortion rights. You can read more about the report here.