Most Canadians and Americans Would Shun Debate on Abortion

The proportion of Conservatives in Canada and Republicans in the U.S. who want a discussion on this topic fell by double digits.

Vancouver, BC [September 25, 2020] – The appetite for national discussions on abortion has dropped drastically in North America, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 58% of Canadians and Americans believe there is no point in re-opening a debate about abortion in their respective countries.

Only three-in-ten Americans (30%) and one-in-four Canadians (25%) think a debate on abortion is long overdue and the discussion should be re-opened.

This represents a 16-point drop in the United States and a 12-point drop in Canada since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in July 2019.

Majorities of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party (64%), the New Democratic Party (NDP) (63%) and the Conservative Party (56%) in the last federal election believe there is no point in reopening a debate about abortion right now.

“Republicans in the United States and Conservatives in Canada are not particularly convinced that this is the right time to debate abortion,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While 55% of Republicans were willing to engage in a national discussion about this topic in 2019, the proportion has fallen to 40% this year. Among Canadian Conservatives, appetite for this debate dropped from 44% to 28%.”

In Canada, just under half of residents (48%, +2 since 2019) think abortion should be legal under any circumstances. More than a third of Canadians (36%, -7) think the procedure should only be allowed under certain circumstances.

In the United States, more than two-in-five respondents (44%, -4) believe abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances, while more than a third (37%, +9) think the procedure should be legal under any circumstances.

Few Americans (13%, -6) and Canadians (8%, +3) endorse the concept of abortion being illegal in all circumstances.

Americans aged 35-to-54 (43%), residents of the West (46%) and Democrats (also 46%) are more likely to believe that abortion should be legal under any circumstances.


Results are based on online studies conducted from September 4 to September 6, 2020, among representative samples of 1,000 adults in Canada and 1,200 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.

Find our Canadian tables here, our American tables here and download the press release here.

Photo by Josh Hild.

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.