Democrats have increased their support for removing all or most limitations on abortion, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.
While the party has long held a pro-choice platform, survey data show that Democrats have shifted farther leftward on the abortion debate in recent years.
According to Pew, the percentage of Democrats who believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases has increased from 66 percent in 2007 to 79 percent in 2016.
By contrast, from 2007 to 2016 the percentage of Republicans who believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases declined from 36 to 34 percent and increased slightly among independents during the same time period from 54 to 60 percent.
"However, the share of Democrats who favor legal abortion has risen 9 percentage points since March, from 70% to 79%," noted Pew.
"Just 18% of Democrats now say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. The partisan gap in support for legal abortion, 45 percentage points, is at its widest point in close to a decade."
Pew credited the shift to women within the Democratic Party, as the percentage of men in the party who support abortion in all or most cases has declined four percentage points since March, going from 75 to 71 percent.
"This shift in Democratic support is especially pronounced among women. Currently, 85% of Democratic women think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up 18 points from March," added Pew.
"This is the highest level of support for legal abortion among Democratic women in the past two decades."
Pew's report comes during an election year when Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Party nominee Donald Trump have taken diametrically opposed positions on the abortion debate.
For example, on the issue of United States Supreme Court appointees, Clinton has promised to nominate pro-choice justices while Trump has promised to nominate pro-life justices.
Pew's findings caught the attention of the moderately conservative publication The American Interest, which saw the data as proof that it is the Democrats who are creating polarization in the nation, not Republicans.
"It's an article of faith among academic political scientists and much of the media that polarization and gridlock is a Republican-driven phenomenon — that the GOP has moved dramatically to the right while Democrats have drifted only modestly to the left," argued The American Interest.
"This view might be supported by esoteric academic metrics for Congressional voting patterns, and it holds in the real world when it comes to areas like tax policy. But on issues from same-sex marriage to public sector unionism to the minimum wage, it's hard to deny that Democrats have moved away from the center more rapidly than the GOP."