The poll was conducted for the Knights of Columbus by the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion between Sept. 24 and Oct. 3. It aimed to enable comparisons of the views of Catholic voters with those of the general electorate.
The poll asked respondents to state which of six statements came closest to describing their opinion on abortion.
Only 8% of U.S. residents chose the statement saying abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants during her entire pregnancy.
That same percentage said abortion should be allowed only during the first six months of pregnancy. Twenty-four percent moved the abortion limit to the first three months of pregnancy.
The largest percentage -- 32% -- chose the statement saying abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Fifteen percent chose the fifth option: that abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother.
And 13% affirmed that abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance.
The poll also indicated that even among those who describe themselves as pro-choice, 71% favored restricting abortions. Of these, 43% would restrict abortion to the first trimester and 23% would restrict abortion only to cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said the poll results are "indicative of the fact that the term 'pro-choice' -- when applied broadly -- needlessly polarizes the discussion of abortion and masks the fact that there is broad consensus among Americans that abortion should be significantly restricted."