In May 2014, the National Institute commissioned the non-partisan research organization PerryUndem Research/Communication to survey registered voters in New York and Pennsylvania, both states with broad-based women’s legislative agendas under consideration. (See the full polling memo)

We found that large majorities of voters in each state support their state’s proposed legislative agenda around women’s issues. A majority of New York and Pennsylvania voters also support policies within these agendas that would specifically work to protect a woman’s right and access to abortion. This is not surprising given that a majority of voters in Pennsylvania and New York—like the country overall—supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. What is new, however, are findings that suggest voters recognize links between control over one’s reproductive health—including access to abortion—and financial stability and equal opportunities.

Some key findings include:

  • Being a mother / caregiver is a top-of-mind factor that prevents women from having the same level of financial stability and opportunities as men (top response in PA; 2nd response in NY).
  • Three-quarters of voters in each state say that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children is an important part of equality for women (81% in NY; 83% in PA) and is related to women’s financial stability (76% in NY; 72% in PA).
  • Half of voters connect access to safe and legal abortion care to equal opportunities for women (55% in NY) and financial stability (50% in PA).
  • The majority of Pennsylvania voters think that laws and restrictions that make it harder to access abortion can have a negative impact on women’s financial stability (62%).
  • Majorities in Pennsylvania and New York are favorable toward the Roe v. Wade decision (78% in NY; 68% in PA) – which closely tracks with national polling on this issue.
  • At least seven out of 10 voters in each state support the abortion-specific proposals in both legislative agendas (77% in NY support protecting abortion rights as decided in the Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade; in PA, 82% support making sure politicians can’t force doctors to give patients medically inaccurate information about abortion, 73% support protecting spaces around entrances to reproductive health centers, and 71% support protecting decisions around abortion).
  • At least eight out of 10 voters in each state supports women’s legislative agendas overall (84% in NY; 80% in PA).
  • About three-quarters of voters prefer that their state’s legislative agenda include – rather than exclude – protections for abortion access (73% in NY; 76% in PA).
  • Voters say they are more likely to reelect elected officials who support women’s agendas that protect access to reproductive health care, including abortion (68% in NY and PA).

The polls were conducted in late May among a representative sample of 802 registered voters in each state. It was administered by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The margin of sampling error is + 3.5 percentage points for total results in each state.

Read the full release here.