The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was met with broad opposition in Washington state, according to a recent statewide poll. 

Results from the WA Poll, conducted among 825 Washington adults earlier this month, showed strong pushback to the Supreme Court ruling — making abortion one of the top issues on voters’ minds in the weeks following the Roe v. Wade decision. While most opposition came from female and Democrat respondents, feelings of disagreement generally increased with residents’ education and household income. Meanwhile, male and Republican respondents showed the strongest backing of the ruling, according to poll results.

The WA Poll is sponsored by The Seattle Times, KING 5, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication.

Conducted online July 6-10 by SurveyUSA, the WA Poll reached 825 adults, including 731 registered voters and 596 likely voters, using a population sample provided by Lucid Holdings. The respondents were weighted to U.S. Census proportions for gender, age, race, education and home ownership.

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Overall, about 63% of respondents oppose the ruling, while 26% either somewhat or strongly support it.

“Washington state has long supported abortion access and remains an outspoken believer in the right to healthcare,” Kia Guarino, executive director of Pro-Choice Washington, said in a statement. “These poll results echo what we know to be true across the country; that most people are against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn our basic human right to abortion.”

The survey was sponsored by The Seattle Times, KING 5 TV, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication. These questions have a credibility interval of 4.5 percentage points.


According to a separate FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll that surveyed 2,000 or so Americans shortly after the Roe decision, a small majority said surgical abortions and medical abortions or abortion pills should be legal in most or all cases. The survey data also shows American attitudes toward abortion are complicated, and most people don’t consider it a clear “legal” or “illegal” decision, according to a summary of results.

In addition, the national poll found about 78% of Americans oppose potential measures making it illegal for people to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. Public support was more tepid when respondents were asked whether they supported employers paying for employees to access abortions in other states.

In Washington, about 62% of WA Poll respondents said they support state-led efforts to help people living in other place get abortions here — though responses varied more broadly depending on age and where the person lives. 

In all, about 28% of respondents opposed efforts to help non-Washingtonians get abortions in the state.

Younger adults and women generally also voiced stronger support for these efforts, according to the poll. About 70% of those between 18 and 34 years old approve of resource-sharing between states, compared with about 54% to 55% of those older than 50.

About 35% to 38% of adults over 50 decidedly oppose the efforts.

It isn’t surprising a vast majority of those who identify as politically conservative generally disagree with plans to bring non-Washingtonians into the state for an abortion, said Julie Barrett, founder of Conservative Ladies of Washington.


“I’m seeing that our members and people in the pro-life, conservative community don’t support the idea of using Washington taxpayer dollars to bring people in from other states,” Barrett said. “That should go up to a vote of the people.”

Because the state doesn’t have any laws restricting travel or penalizing those who are seeking abortions in Washington, she added, “it seems we’ve put the cart before the horse here, which is troublesome to me. … There’s nothing that says a woman can’t travel from Idaho into Washington to get an abortion.”

Other anti-abortion advocates in the state also weren’t shocked by the poll results, citing a general misunderstanding of the Roe ruling.

“The vast majority of the public does not understand many things on this issue, including the fundamentals of Roe,” Esther Ripplinger, president and CEO of Human Life of Washington, the local affiliate of the National Right to Life organization, wrote in an email. “It is not widely known that even the late pro-choice Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asserted that Roe was a bad ruling.” (Ginsburg said the ruling was structured too broadly, which left it vulnerable to attack.)

Washington was the first state in the country to vote to legalize abortion, in 1970, although the protections were limited to the first few months of pregnancy and conditional upon a husband’s approval. A 1991 voter initiative went further, guaranteeing the right to abortion until the point of a fetus’s viability.

Because that law will remain in effect, regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, the state is expecting an influx of patients seeking abortions from Idaho, Alaska and other parts of the country, said Kate Cole, a volunteer with the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, which funds abortions for people in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.


“These survey findings reflect what we already know — that the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe vs Wade, and the subsequent decisions by many gerrymandered, Republican-controlled state legislatures to ban or severely restrict abortion — do not reflect the popular opinion of Washingtonians or Americans,” Cole said in a statement.

She continued, “Abortion is health care, and access to health care is a human right. Every person deserves the right to decide if, when and how to bear children, irrespective of popular opinion or polls.”

The new poll showed opposition to the Roe reversal among every socioeconomic class and in urban, suburban and rural parts of the state. Men support the ruling more than women — about 35% compared with 17% — though about half oppose the decision. Meanwhile, about 74% of female respondents oppose the ruling.

Responses were similar in both Eastern and Western Washington (about 65% of people oppose the decision on both sides of the state), while the most noticeable differences were found within political and ideological ranks, as well as levels of education.

About 57% of Republicans support the recent Supreme Court ruling, while about 36% of them said they oppose the ruling, with a fifth voicing strong opposition. In contrast, about 85% of Democrats disagree with the ruling.

About 58% of independent voters oppose the ruling; 16% are undecided.

People with a four-year college education were also more likely to oppose the decision, poll results showed. About 63% of four-year college graduates disagree with the decision, compared with about 16% who support it.