Amid complaints that the mainstream media has paid little attention to the case, a new Gallup Poll finds that most Americans are not following the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell, nor have views on abortion changed much following the trial’s revelations — more than half of Americans support the legal abortion under at least some circumstances.
The jury is still deciding the fate of Dr. Gosnell, having deliberated for more than a week. But at least 7 percent of American adults are riveted to the case, in which the 72-year-old abortion provider is charged with “snipping” the necks of four newborns who survived an abortion, as well as participating in the death of a woman patient in his clinic, which was described as a “house of horrors.”
Another 18 percent of Americans are watching the trial “somewhat closely,” Gallup said Friday.
But 20 percent are watching “not too closely” and another 54 percent are “not at all” following the trial.
“It is not clear from the data whether Americans’ relatively low attention to the Gosnell case reflects a lack of interest in it, or a lack of coverage by the mainstream media,” wrote Gallup researcher Lydia Saad. “However, nearly half of those following the case, 46 percent, say the media have not devoted enough coverage to it.”
The May 2-7 randomized poll of 1,535 adults found that interest in the trial was associated with views on abortion: Of those who identified as “pro-choice,” 62 percent were not following the trial at all, while more half of pro-life supporters were following the trial at least somewhat closely.
The Gallup poll also updated Americans’ self-identification on abortion, and found that 48 percent call themselves “pro-life,” while 45 percent say they are “pro-choice.”
When asked about abortion in general, 52 percent of American adults said it should be legal under certain circumstances and 26 percent under “any” circumstances. Another 20 percent said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
The Gallup poll results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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