Poll: How Michigan voters feel about abortion, overturning Roe, possible ballot proposal

Survey finds majority of voters support abortion rights, oppose overturning Roe

FILE - Abortion rights protesters attend a rally outside the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on June 24, 2022, following the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A majority of Michigan voters “strongly disagree” with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, and many say they would support an amendment to the state constitution to guarantee abortion access, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll.

A new survey, conducted between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, found Michigan voters are feeling primarily motivated to vote because of issues surrounding abortion and women’s rights. A majority of voters said they oppose the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortions nationwide, and would support constitutional change at the state level to secure legal abortion care.

More: Poll: Where Michigan voters stand on governor candidates Whitmer, Dixon

Here are some of the key findings from this portion of the survey:

Abortion, women’s rights take center stage

  • When asked which issue would most motivate a Michigan voter to vote this fall, the majority of respondents -- 34.4% -- said abortion and women’s rights. Other options included inflation and the cost of living; jobs and the economy; threats to our democracy; crime and violence; and education.
  • Female voters cited abortion as the primary driver of their motivation, but male voters did not. The poll found 43.5% of female voters care most about abortion and women’s rights issues, while just 24.6% of male voters do.
    • Male voters tend to care more about inflation, with 30.8% choosing inflation and the cost of living as their primary motivator. 20.6% of female voters selected inflation.
  • Abortion is primarily a motivating factor among Democratic voters, with only some Republican voters showing strong voter motivation due to abortion.
    • Abortion is a motivating factor for 58% of voters who identify as “strong Democratic,” and for 48.2% of voters who lean Democratic.
    • Abortion is a motivating factor for 15.3% of voters who identify as “strong Republican,” and for, notably, 22% of voters who lean Republican.
    • About 28.9% of Independent voters listed abortion as a strong motivating factor.

Response to Roe decision

  • 57.6% of Michigan voters disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, while 32.6% of voters agreed with it. About 6.3% of voters were neutral, and 3.5% of voters were undecided.
  • A majority of Michigan voters, 51.3%, said they “strongly disagreed” with the decision, while 26% of voters “strongly agreed” with the decision.
  • The majority of voters who identify as Baptist, Catholic or non-denominational -- the three largest religious affiliations in Michigan -- largely oppose the overturning of Roe.
    • 50% of Baptist voters disagreed with the decision, while 39% agreed.
    • 62.6% of Catholic voters disagreed, while 31.4% agreed. Of note, 41.5% of Catholic voters “strongly oppose” the decision.
    • 47.9% of non-denominational voters disagreed, while 41.6% agreed.
  • Female voters across all nearly parties oppose the Supreme Court’s decision more than male voters do.
    • The most opposition comes from “strong Democratic” female voters, with 96.5% opposing the decision.
    • The most support for the decision comes from “strong Republican” male voters, with 69.1% supporting the decision.
    • 79% of “strong Democratic” male voters oppose the Supreme Court’s decision.
    • 63.3% of “strong Republican” female voters support the decision.

Abortion ballot proposal, laws

  • An abortion rights ballot proposal may appear on the Nov. ballot, pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • A majority of Michigan voters, 60.3%, said they would support a proposed change to the Michigan Constitution that would guarantee abortion rights in the state.
    • 29.3% of voters said they would oppose a proposed change to the Michigan Constitution that would guarantee abortion rights in the state.
  • Most survey respondents, 64.4%, said they support Michigan’s law requiring minors to get permission from one parent or legal guardian in order to terminate a pregnancy. 24.5% of voters oppose this existing Michigan law.
  • A significant majority of Michigan voters, 80%, said they support allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest.
    • The majority of demographics -- Republican, Democrat and Independent voters -- take the same stance on this matter.
    • 23.3% of “strong Republican” voters oppose allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest, along with 20% of voters who lean Republican and 14% of Independent voters.
    • 4% of “strong Democratic” voters oppose, as well as 7% of voters who lean Democratic.

Non-college women leave GOP over abortion position

  • Of interesting note: Non-college women have “sharply left the GOP” over the overturning of Roe, the poll finds. Whitmer now leads against Dixon among non-college women by 29.8%, and college women by 22.9% -- of which both groups say they strongly oppose the Roe decision.
    • “In the past three cycles, voter education levels have meant a large split in voter preferences with non-college voters shifting sharply to Republicans and college voters shifting to Democrats,” the poll results read. “But the overturn of Roe v. Wade has thus far upended this traditional education split.”

Note: The latest WDIV/Detroit News poll did not poll voters on the exact language of a potential abortion rights ballot proposal that may appear on the Nov. ballot. It is currently unclear if that proposal will be certified to appear on the upcoming ballot. The survey asked Michigan voters more generally about the idea of a constitutional amendment on abortion.


The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2022 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on August 29-September 1, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 28.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 72.0% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.

See the poll results from July right here to compare.

Related: Michigan judge declares 1931 law banning abortions ‘unconstitutional’ in final ruling

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.