Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Political Science

First Advisor

J. Kevin Corder

Second Advisor

Peter Wielhouwer

Third Advisor

Lauren Foley


Following 1973 and the nationwide legalization of abortion in the United States, abortion has been a prominent political opinion issue. In this paper, with data from the American National Election Studies, the role of demographic characteristics in explaining attitudes toward abortion are examined along with party identification and voting behavior from the presidential elections of 1976-2016. The data results demonstrate that attitudes toward abortion have remained stationary from 1976-2016, demographic characteristics cannot fully explain attitudes toward abortion, and attitudes toward abortion have become a strong influence on the party identification and voting behavior of people. The implications of the data confirm the idea that people’s minds do not easily change, that demographic characteristics are low level predictors of opinion, and that pro-life and pro-choice attitudes are now visibly maintained and grounded in the two main political parties.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted