Support for Michigan’s ballot measure that would protect abortion rights has notably declined over the past month, a new Detroit News/WDIV poll finds—though a majority still favor it—part of a broader trend nationwide suggesting voters’ enthusiasm has somewhat declined on abortion rights as more time has passed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The poll, which was conducted October 26-28, found 55% of respondents support Michigan’s Proposal 3, which would amend the state Constitution to establish a “new individual right to reproductive freedom,” which ensures people have the right to “make and carry out” their own decisions about abortion and other reproductive issues like contraception and infertility.
That’s down from 61.6% who backed the ballot measure when the question was last asked in late September.
The share of respondents who said they do not support the proposal went up from 23.6% last month to 41% now.
Most voters have now made up their mind on the ballot measure, with only 3.8% still undecided about how they’ll vote versus 14% in September.
The surge in opposition to Proposal 3 was primarily driven by Republicans, with 77.7% of those who identify as “strong Republican voters” opposing the measure, up from 51.2% last month.
Democrats are still broadly supportive of the ballot measure—including 95.5% of “strong Democratic voters” and 76.2% of those who lean Democratic—and a 56.3% majority of Independents also back it.
What We Don’t Know
How Michigan’s abortion ballot measure will play out in practice. The Detroit News/WDIV poll had a relatively small sample size—600 respondents—so it’s possible the actual election results could skew differently in either direction. In Kansas, polling ahead of the state’s abortion ballot measure in August ended up being not predictive of the final results: A July poll suggested the initiative would narrowly pass, which would have paved the way for the state to ban abortion, but the measure ended up failing in a landslide vote.
The poll found even higher majorities plan to support Michigan’s other ballot measures in the midterms, with 71.1% of respondents backing an initiative that would impose term limits on state legislators and require public financial disclosures from state officials, and 63.7% supporting a ballot measure that would expand voting rights.
What To Watch For
In addition to Michigan, California and Vermont also have ballot measures in the midterms that would enshrine abortion rights, while Kentucky voters will vote on an initiative that says the state’s Constitution explicitly does not protect abortion rights.
The Michigan poll is indicative of a broader trend suggesting voters’ interest in abortion rights has somewhat waned after surging following the Supreme Court’s June ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, though voters remain broadly supportive of abortion being legal. A CBS News/YouGov poll found a five percentage point drop in the share of voters who said abortion is “very important” to their vote between September and October (from 59% to 54%), and a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found a five-point increase in the share of voters who say the court’s ruling makes them more likely to vote Republican (from 32% to 37%). The polling is in line with other surveys suggesting Republicans have been pulling ahead in races nationwide, after Democratic strategists had previously hoped abortion would be a key motivator to get their base to go to the polls. President Joe Biden gave a speech in October promising to make sending legislation enshrining abortion rights into federal law his first priority if Democrats keep control of Congress in the midterms, in light of the apparent declining enthusiasm.