Democrats may be in for a letdown if they expect a Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade to change the electoral landscape of the midterm elections in their favor.
In a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, even Americans who support overturning the historic ruling establishing abortion rights indicate that the economy will have a bigger impact on their vote in November by a margin of 2-1 (59 percent to 29 percent). According to seven out of ten people, their decision to vote would be unaffected by the high court’s decision.
Ben Hoffman, 35, of Karthaus, Pennsylvania, listed his top two concerns as “gas prices going up too high” and “the inflation rate is insane.” Although the political independent is pro-choice, she believes that if the economy keeps moving in the high-price path it is, “going to become a life-and-death issue here in the autumn.”
Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker Protesters for and against abortion rights gathered in front of the Supreme Court in June.
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It’s still the economy, idiot, according to the majority of voters.
For some, such concerns would be overshadowed by the high court’s likely ruling, which was hinted at in a draft majority judgment that was leaked to Politico in May.
“People’s lives are literally at stake when you take away a woman’s choice on reproduction or refuse to adopt reasonable gun control,” said Lynda Tarantino, 54, an attorney from Buffalo, New York, who also took part in the study. She identified as a Democrat and stated that she worries “far more than a few hundred bucks that I would have to spend because inflation is high” about these beliefs.
However, the aggregate results raise concerns about whether a Supreme Court ruling will revive Democrats’ dwindling hopes by luring swing voters to their cause.
Only 16 percent of those who are against overturning Roe v. Wade say abortion is the most significant factor in their vote, which is exactly the same number as those who are in favor of doing so.
The margin of error for the landline and mobile survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted June 12–15, is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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Republicans and voters disagree on abortion
Republicans face risks, too, with an anti-abortion stance that puts them at odds with most voters.
Those polled oppose reversing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognized abortion as a right during the first few months of a pregnancy, by a margin of more than 2-1, 61 percent to 28 percent. Republicans make up 30% of that majority, and independents, the non-aligned minority that generally decides close races, make up 64%.
They believe that abortion should be lawful in all or most situations, rather than being banned in all or most cases, by a margin of more than 2-1, or 63 percent to 30 percent.
By a margin of 51% to 41%, they favor a single national abortion policy over a patchwork of state rules. Reversing Roe would let each state decide whether to allow or prohibit abortions.
“I’ve always been a states’ rights guy,” said Brian Schuster, 75, a retiree from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “If a state wants to (take action on abortion), based on where they are in the country – the Midwest is a lot more conservative, as well as the South; the East and the West Coast are very liberal – that’s their right.”
Independent Schuster declares his opposition to abortion but adds that he is in favor of exceptions to the ban if, for example, the pregnancy is the consequence of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger. There are boundaries, he declared.
Most Americans’ personal histories now include abortion in some way. Those polled reported knowing someone who had an abortion in their family or among their acquaintances by a large margin of 58 percent to 38 percent.
68 percent of women and 49 percent of males reported knowing someone who had an abortion. By a margin of 63 percent to 54 percent, individuals who oppose overturning Roe v. Wade are more likely to know someone than those who favor doing so.
Stacy Hannah of Gulfport, Florida, spoke about her own experiences with abortion. “I was in the Navy; I was 18; and I was in a relationship with a boyfriend who was not a very good boyfriend,” she said.
She later married the man, and now, at age 61, she looks after him at home. She wasn’t prepared to have a child at the time and had been using birth control. She stated, “I didn’t have my first child until I was 31.” That is how far from being a mother I was at the age of 18.
None of the women she knows who have had abortions “did it as a kind of birth control,” she added. Instead, they “did it for economic, or health, or a lot of reasons.” “Everything was done with significant thought.”
A libertarian who supports abortion rights, Randall Huber, 33, of Isleton, California, once accompanied a friend who had been sexually abused to an abortion clinic. But he also mentions that his mother had possibly fatal medical issues while she was carrying him. He explained that she had to make the decision to keep the pregnancy going.
A nation that has veered off course
The survey illustrates a political environment that is hostile to Democrats less than five months out from the midterm elections. Only 39% of Americans say Joe Biden is doing a good job as president; 47% “strongly” disapprove. Seventy-one percent of respondents believe that the nation is moving in the wrong direction, a level of worry that has traditionally foreshadowed significant electoral setbacks for the party in charge of the White House and Congress.
If the election were held today, they divided 40 percent to 40 percent in favor of the Democratic and Republican congressional candidates.
According to a USA TODAY/Suffolk survey, Biden has a 39 percent approval rating amid economic worries while 47 percent “strongly disapprove.”
Midterm elections and abortion: How might Roe v. Wade’s overturn affect them? In October, pose that query.
Some top Democrats have predicted a Supreme Court decision would shake things up, particularly as some states move immediately to ban abortions.
“To the American people, I say this: The elections this November will have consequences, because the rights of a hundred million women are now on the ballot,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently told a Capitol Hill rally.
The House Democratic Campaign Committee’s chairman, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, has referred to abortion as “the central issue in the 2022 race.”
It is hard to anticipate with certainty the effects of a Supreme Court ruling that reverses a half-century of abortion rights. The final ruling’s scope, phrasing, and how states respond by allowing or prohibiting abortions might all have an impact on the political fallout.
However, according to the survey, 39% of those who support Roe v. Wade say they would support a politician whose position on abortion they disagreed with if they supported that candidate’s position on other topics. Compared to the 45 percent who say they wouldn’t, this is a little lower.
Abortion rights are supported by independents by a 64 percent to 23 percent margin. That important voter demographic, however, cares more about the economy than abortion as a political issue by a significantly bigger margin, 67 percent to 20 percent. Seventy-four percent of them (74%) think a court judgement wouldn’t influence whether they voted in the upcoming election; 21% say it would increase their likelihood of doing so.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned by the court, 26% of those who support it believe they would be more likely to vote.
Sheri Erickson, a 50-year-old restaurant manager from Beaverton, Oregon, questioned why efforts to restore abortion rights are moving in the opposite direction of what was previously recognized as a mistake. “That’s like saying we’re going back to slavery.”
But Erickson, an independent, has something else on her mind when she considers how to vote.
“Look at gas prices,” she said. We currently struggle to make ends meet despite my hard work and my husband’s little business. Food and fuel prices have increased, but her pay has not. Her top concern: “Our middle class continues to get closer to us not (having) our own living wages,” she said.