Every poll that has tested how voters feel about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade has shown that Americans want Roe upheld-- every single one of them. Will it make a difference in November? If so how much of a difference? My guy tells me not much. That's because most voters admire strength and guts over policy positions. And most voters see the Democrats as pathetic, vacillating and weak and view the Republicans as strong and committed.
Maybe Roe is important enough to enough voters that policy will trump character? Maybe. In fact, a YouGov poll that was released yesterday indicates just that. Andrew Romano reported yesterday that the poll indicates that "Republicans risk overplaying their hand on abortion ahead of the 2022 midterms-- and that Democrats could benefit if the hot-button issue is on the ballot."
The poll of "registered voters initially preferred a generic Democrat (44%) over a generic Republican (39%) by 5 percentage points when asked how they would vote in their district if the congressional election were being held today. But when voters were asked to choose instead between a 'pro-choice Democrat' and a 'pro-life Republican,' GOP support fell to 31% while Democratic support held steady-- more than doubling the gap between the two candidates, to 13 percentage points."
We will get an indication of how that plays out in two crucial primary races this month. On May 17, a North Carolina congressional primary pits an ardent pro-choice progressive Democrat, Erica Smith, against an ardent anti-choice conservative Democrat, Don Davis. And one week later, the same thing happens in South Texas, where ardent anti-choice Blue Dog incumbent, Henry Cuellar, is defending his seat in a runoff with ardent pro-choice progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. (You can contribute to the two pro-choice women here.)
By the same token, 69% of Americans say they would “oppose Congress passing a law that bans abortion nationwide.” The Washington Post reported this week that conservative groups have already met with their congressional allies about a possible “nationwide ban on the procedure if Republicans retake power in Washington,” and several GOP senators have started sketching out policy details.
“I think you could expect that pro-life activists would push for federal protections” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told NBC News. “I wouldn't take that off the table.”
A mere 22% of Americans say they would favor such a law-- while more than twice as many (48%) would support a law "that keeps abortion as legal and accessible nationwide as it had been under Roe.”
These warning signs for Republicans reflect a deeper, and remarkably consistent, pattern. On question after question, only about a third of Americans say they agree with the transformative decision the court is now careening toward-- that is, a decision to end all federal protections for abortion, allowing state legislatures to restrict or ban the procedure as they please.
Just 31% of U.S. adults, for instance, say Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Just 34% say abortion should be illegal in “all” or “most” cases. Only 33% say they want their own states to make all or most abortions illegal. And just 30% say abortion is “something that individual states should be [able to] outlaw.”
In contrast, nearly twice as many Americans see abortion as “a constitutional right that women in all states should have some access to” (56%) and say the procedure should be legal in all or most cases (55%).
The question now is whether this lopsided dynamic-- a small minority in favor of the court’s likely decision and a clear majority opposed to it-- will be enough to energize otherwise unenthusiastic Democrats and alter the course of an election that had been trending in the GOP’s direction.
The new Yahoo News/YouGov poll holds some possible hints. A full 28% of pro-choice Americans, for instance, now say they will vote only for a candidate who “shares [their] view on abortion.” Among Americans who identify as "pro-life"-- who are traditionally seen as the more motivated group-- that number is significantly lower (21%).
The new survey also measured a sizable jump in dissatisfaction among Democrats, with the number who say "things in this country are off on the wrong track" rising 8 points (to 43%) since last month, likely because of the leaked draft opinion. Neither Republicans nor independents shifted nearly as much. Whether such unease translates into turnout, however, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, 20% of Democrats-- including 22% of Democratic women and 27% of liberal Democrats-- now select abortion as “the most important issue” for this year’s election, ahead of inflation (19%), health care (16%) and climate change (14%). In November 2021, just 4% of Democrats, 6% of Democratic women and 5% of liberal Democrats selected abortion as their most important issue.
Republicans (6%) and independents (6%) are far less inclined to cite abortion as the most important issue.
Already, Democratic candidates in key races from Georgia to Pennsylvania to Texas are seizing on the likely end of Roe to argue that voting Republican-- or sitting out the election-- will pave the way for those states (and possibly Congress as a whole) to outlaw abortion going forward. Many Republican candidates, meanwhile, are jockeying to prove they’re more anti-abortion than their GOP rivals as they aim to appeal to an increasingly right-wing primary electorate.
Mike Garcia, a Trump-Republican, represents a Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley district in the northern Los Angeles suburbs, one of the bluest districts with a Republican representative anywhere in the country. How is that possible? The DCCC keeps running a Republic-lite DINO with nothing to offer and the voters keep turning her down. The Democratic establishment is up to the same bullshit this cycle as well. But this cycle a stalwart progressive, Ruth Luevanos, is also in the race to represent the district, which has gone from D+5 to D+8 and is more than ready to move on from Mike Garcia-- as long as the Democrats don't wind up with a conservative corporate shill from the Manchin-Sinema wing of the party again as the only alternative.
Yesterday, I asked Luevanos how the issue of Choice has been injected into the campaign, since Mike Garcia is an anti-Choice fanatic and incredibly out of step with the voters in his district. "We know that Garcia has no respect for women's rights or their safety," she told me, "because he voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act. Even though he is endorsed by Pro-life PACs he seems to have no problem voting against immigrant children and no problem voting against LGBTQ children. So his actions represent that he is not a representative who will protect children's lives or their safety. As far as Roe he voted against the Womens Health Protection Act despite the fact that over half of the 27th district is female. As a teacher who has taught and continues to teach students who are pregnant minors I know firsthand the need to ensure that all women have access to reproductive health and education. As a Latina mother and teacher I know the detrimental impact that Garcia's votes have on Black, Brown and poor women more than anyone else."
Please consider contributing to Ruth Luevanos' campaign and the campaigns of other progressive, pro-Choice women running for Congress here. The California primary is next month and people are already starting to fill out vote-by-mail ballots.