Operating Status

About half want to see New Jersey pass laws to protect and expand access to abortion care

As the issue of reproductive rights takes center stage both nationally and statewide, New Jerseyans are worried about the future of Roe v. Wade. According to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in collaboration with New Jersey Policy Perspective, residents would like to see New Jersey ensure the protection and expansion of reproductive care, including abortion. Likewise, New Jerseyans say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate in the state who supported the Reproductive Freedom Act. 

Two-thirds of New Jerseyans are “very” (41 percent) or “somewhat” (24 percent) concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court possibly overturning Roe v. Wade in the future; 13 percent are “not very” concerned, and 6 percent are “not at all” concerned. Concern for the ruling’s future is about the same whether or not respondents are reminded that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the recent Texas law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. 

Over half (54 percent) would generally like to see New Jersey pass laws that protect and expand access to abortion care, while 25 percent would like to see the state make it more difficult to get an abortion; 11 percent choose neither option, and 9 percent are unsure. 

Four in 10 New Jerseyans say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate running for office in New Jersey who supports the Reproductive Freedom Act – double the number who say they would be less likely to do so (21 percent). Just over a quarter (28 percent) say it would make no difference to their vote, and 11 percent are unsure. 

“Abortion rights have always had support in New Jersey for as long as the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has asked about the issue,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “In fact, New Jerseyans have continually been opposed to any state laws restricting abortion access for about the past three decades.” 

“This polling shows what we know has long been true in New Jersey – voters support access to abortion and want their elected representatives to expand access and eliminate barriers,” said Sheila Reynertson, senior policy analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective. 

In general, 38 percent of New Jerseyans think abortion should be legal in all cases and 29 percent in most cases. Eighteen percent believe abortion should be illegal in most cases and another 8 percent in all cases. 

While partisanship plays a role in attitudes toward abortion rights, access, and care, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike are concerned about Roe v. Wade being overturned – albeit to varying degrees. Democrats are the most likely to say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned (85 percent), followed by Independents (55 percent) and Republicans (50 percent). Half or more of partisans of all stripes also believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases (85 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of Independents, and 50 percent of Republicans). However, Democrats are much more likely than their counterparts to support protection and expansion of access to abortion care in the Garden State, as well as vote for a candidate who supports the Reproductive Freedom Act; Independents and Republicans, on the other hand, are more mixed.

Other key demographics play a role in abortion-related views. Women are more likely than men to be concerned about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned, are more supportive of abortion in at least most cases, would like New Jersey to protect and expand abortion care, and would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the Reproductive Freedom Act. 

White, Black, and Hispanic adults are all equally likely to support abortion in at least most cases, however Black adults are more likely to be concerned about a Roe v. Wade overturn and are more likely to support New Jersey expanding and protecting abortion care. 

While adults ages 18-34 express more support for abortion in at least most cases, adults 65 years and older are most concerned about Roe v. Wade being overturned. The two age groups express nearly equal support for New Jersey expanding and protecting abortion care. Still, those aged 18-34 are far more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the Reproductive Freedom Act. 

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,008 adults contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones from Oct. 21–27. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.

The questions and tables can be viewed on the Eagleton website.