Nationally, support for abortion rights remains basically unchanged over the past decade. According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who believe abortion should be legal in most cases stands at 53 percent, while the number who believe it should be illegal in most cases is 40 percent.
While support nationally remains constant, there is a growing regional divide with opposition to abortion starting to concentrate most heavily in the South and Midwest.
I believe this dynamic is why Republicans have been so focused on abortion restriction in recent years. Unlike many other social conservative agenda items -same sex marriage, censorship of rap lyrics, and the drug war- this is the one big social conservative issue that hasn’t really lost support. It has even gained support in some regions.
This is one issue where it is still relatively safe for Republicans to prove their social conservative street creed. That is why it is unsurprising that when Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) saw his support falling among national Republicans he moved quickly to become the lead sponsor on a bill to restrict abortion.