Biden Says Voting ‘Only Way’ To Fix Roe V. Wade Ruling—But Here’s What Polls Indicate For Midterms

Topline
President Joe Biden predicted Friday the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade would send American women to the ballot box in “record numbers”—but while polling released since the decision shows it is motivating people to vote, it may not be enough for Democrats to beat the GOP, according to these findings.

President Joe Biden speaks about abortion access during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White … [+] House on July 8 in Washington.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Key Facts

The ruling is motivating voters: An All In Together/Emerson College poll found 38% of voters said the decision makes them “much more interested” in voting in November—up from 30% in September 2021—and a NPR/PBS/Marist poll found 62% of registered voters are more likely to vote in the midterms because of the ruling.

Women are particularly motivated: The All in Together poll found women are more likely to be fired up about voting—as Biden predicted Friday—with the share who are somewhat or much more interested in voting jumping from 54% to 60%, versus a decrease among men from 57% to 51%.

Partisan split: The Supreme Court has motivated Democrats the most, with a CBS News/YouGov poll finding 50% of Democrats are more likely to vote because of the ruling versus 20% of Republicans—but a Harvard/Harris poll found respondents were still evenly divided on which party they’d likely vote for because of the decision (36% each saying a Republican or Democratic candidate).

Pro-abortion rights candidates fare better: Voters are more supportive of politicians that back abortion rights, with an Ipsos poll finding 62% were more likely to support a candidate who thinks abortion should be legal while 65% are less likely to back one who wants the procedure to be illegal.

Abortion more of a political priority: A Yahoo News/YouGov poll found abortion is now respondents’ third biggest political issue—with 11% saying it’s the most important issue to them—behind only inflation (34%) and democracy (20%), and an Associated Press/NORC poll found the share of U.S. adults listing abortion and women’s rights as a top five issue for the government to “work on” has nearly tripled since December.

Independents unswayed: Democrats may have a hard time motivating Independents to support their candidates because of the ruling, as 61% of Independents in the CBS poll said the decision made no difference on whether they’ll vote in November, as did 48% of Independents in the Harvard/Harris poll.

Republicans still ahead anyway: A Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted after the court’s decision found the share of Democrats saying they were now “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting went up to 56% from 48% the week before—but it’s still behind the 58% of Republicans who said the same.

Big Number
43.2%. That’s the share of voters who plan to support Democratic congressional candidates in the midterms as of Friday, while 45% plan to vote Republican, according to a polling average compiled by FiveThirtyEight. Democrats’ polling has gone up since the ruling—42.5% supported the party the day before it came out—but the GOP has still consistently stayed in the lead.

Crucial Quote
“The only way to fulfill and restore [abortion rights] for women in this country is by voting, by exercising the power at the ballot box,” Biden said Friday, adding that electing a Democratic majority in Congress is also the “fastest way” to restore reproductive rights. “It’s my hope and strong belief that women will, in fact, turn out in record numbers to reclaim the rights that have [been] taken from them by the Court.”

Key Background
The Supreme Court overturned Roe on June 24, setting off a wave of state-level abortion bans. The Biden administration and other Democratic leaders largely responded by calling for Americans to vote in November—but that drew widespread ire on the left, as many Democrats urged the federal government to do more and take “bold action” to counteract the court. While the White House has so far rebuffed many of progressives’ proposals—like declaring a public health emergency or allowing abortions on federal land—Biden responded to the criticism Friday with an executive order directing his administration to take further steps to protect abortion access. The president reiterated the importance of voting even as he signed the order, however, and has previously said he supports the Senate abolishing the filibuster to pass an abortion rights bill—something that’s unlikely to happen.

What To Watch For
Midterm races that will affect abortion access. Biden stressed Friday that Democrats need to preserve their House majority and elect two additional Democratic senators in November to protect abortion rights and abolish the filibuster. A number of state races will also be pivotal to state-level abortion policies: Gubernatorial races in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will determine whether Democratic governors can successfully block abortion bans passed by the states’ GOP-led legislatures, for instance. Ballot measures in states like Kansas, Kentucky and Vermont will also put abortion rights directly to voters.

Further Reading
Biden Issues Abortion Executive Order—But Doubles Down On Get-Out-The-Vote Message (Forbes)

Here’s Where Abortion Rights Will Be On The Midterm Ballot In November (Forbes)

Roe V. Wade In The Midterms: Democratic Governors Launch Reproductive Rights Fund As Party Hopes Abortion Sparks Turnout (Forbes)

How Americans Really Feel About Abortion: The Sometimes Surprising Poll Results As Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade (Forbes)

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