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Democrats Should Be Concerned About Voter Enthusiasm

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Democrats continue to get bad news about their fate in the upcoming congressional elections. Reports are now suggesting that voter enthusiasm isn’t exactly going their way, especially on abortion. What is interesting about these developments is the potential for this paradigm in American attitudes to continue even past 2022 and carry over to the next presidential election in 2024.

The Columbia Dispatch reported that Republican voters in Ohio showed up during primary elections at twice the rate of Democratic voters. “In the race for the open U.S. Senate seat, about 1.06 million Republican ballots were cast, according to unofficial, final results from Ohio’s Secretary of State. That’s about double the 510,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary for the seat,” the report noted.

The report continued:

In the Republican primary for governor, Gov. Mike DeWine earned more votes than the two Democrats who wanted to challenge him this November combined. And overall GOP turnout increased by 13% from the 2018 midterm primaries.

It was the party’s highest midterm primary turnout on record with 232,000 more Republican ballots returned while Democrats dropped by about 169,000 or 27%.

Ohio Republican Party Spokesman Dan Lusheck said that the “Democrats’ entire narrative for 2022 fell flat on its face when the primary result came in” and explained that “Ohioans are feeling the impact of Joe Biden’s failed policies.” He also pointed out that “Ohio Democrats have a weak slate of inexperienced candidates who were unable to motivate their voters.”

David Niven, a politics professor at the University of Cincinnati, concurred. “This is a five-alarm fire situation for Democrats,” he said. “These were like Wyoming numbers. These can’t be Ohio numbers, or the Democrats are in danger of falling out of competitiveness.”

Meanwhile, Ohio Democrats seem to be in denial. “Democrats online, however, theorized that independent voters and maybe even a few of their own party members pulled Republican ballots because of the contentious seven-way race for outgoing Sen. Rob Portman’s seat,” according to the Columbia Dispatch.

But wait – there’s more!

And it ain’t good for the Party of the Donkey.

Amid the furor over the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that could result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, CNN released the results of a poll indicating that the abortion issue might not be the silver bullet Democrats need to either maintain control of Congress or even minimize the damage they will be dealt in November.

From CNN:

Among Democrats, 43% now say they are extremely or very enthusiastic, up 7 points. Among Republicans, it’s 56%, up 9 points. And voters who say overturning Roe would make them “happy” are nearly twice as enthusiastic about voting this fall as those who say such a ruling would leave them “angry” (38% extremely enthusiastic among those happy, 20% among those angry).

The report notes that the percentage of respondents who would be angry about a ruling against Roe (36 percent) outnumbers those who would be happy (17 percent). It also points out that “The issue could become a motivating factor for Roe supporters should the draft opinion become the final one.”

However, when you look a the current political landscape and the polling, it seems clear that this will not happen. Abortion is not a hot-button issue as polls continue to reveal that Americans are far more concerned about the economy, inflation, gas prices, education, and the cost of healthcare. In other words, folks are focused more on their pocketbooks than killing babies. For some, abortion might be a “motivating factor.” But the results of CNN’s poll show that those opposing abortion are exceedingly more passionate about the issue than those who support it.

The poll’s findings will dash any hope Democrats may have had about using abortion to appeal to the electorate. While the party continues to mismanage the federal government, Americans are ready for something different. They want a government that can deal with the problems people are facing and the Democrats have demonstrated in spades that they are not up to the task.

On the other hand, the potential Roe v. Wade decision might just motivate Republican voters even more. If they didn’t see the benefit of having a Republican president in office who actually gets things done, they unquestionably see it now. Without former President Donald Trump having been in office and appointing three Supreme Court justices, the chances of overturning Roe would have been more than remote. This is why current attitudes will likely last beyond 2022. Needless to say, Democrats are in for some challenging years ahead.

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