Democrats Hoping to Leverage Abortion as Election Issue Just Got Some Bad News

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats immediately began highlighting it as an election issue. They hoped to leverage the abortion debate to ward off the inevitable losses they will face in the upcoming congressional elections.

It seemed to be a viable strategy, as abortion is a hot-button topic in American politics. Even further, polling shows that most Americans favor federal legislation that would make abortion legal, albeit with serious restrictions.

However, a recent poll suggests that abortion isn’t the winning issue Democrats hoped it would be. With nothing else of substance to run on, the left finds itself once again looking for other ways to convince the public that they are not completely useless when it comes to addressing the issue most Americans are facing.

A Washington Post-Schar School poll found that voters who support abortion are significantly less likely to vote than those who do not. The result dashes any Democratic hopes of energizing their base around the Supreme Court’s decision. From The Post:

Fully 58 percent of the country supports a federal law establishing the right to an abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, the standard the Supreme Court enshrined for nearly 50 years and overturned last month. And almost a third of Americans say abortion will be one of the “single most important” issues shaping their midterm vote. That’s less than the 39 percent calling rising prices a top issue but higher than the 23 percent citing crime and 20 percent citing immigration.

The report continued:

But the poll also provides evidence of an enthusiasm problem for Democrats: Those who reject the idea that the court’s ruling is a loss for women are 18 percentage points more likely to express certainty they will vote in the midterms — 70 percent compared with 52 percent of those who do see such a loss, according to the Post-Schar School poll conducted July 22 to 24.

Interestingly enough, Democrats and women were “particularly uncertain they will vote,” according to the report. “About 1 in 3 women under 40 are sure they will cast a ballot even as they have strong concerns about rollbacks in abortion access,” the authors wrote.

Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, who also worked on the study, seemed to have trouble understanding the results.

“Is the discontent with Democratic Party leadership and policies generally so deep that those most affected by the court decision … still plan to sit out this election?” he asked. “I struggle to wrap my head around this disconnect.”

Well, perhaps I can give it a try.

Abortion was never going to be a winning issue for Democrats for the simple fact that those on the pro-abortion side are not quite as passionate about the topic as pro-lifers. The reason why is simple. Those who support abortion do so because of the questionable idea that the government should not be allowed to prevent a woman from terminating her pregnancy. In fact, many who oppose making abortion illegal personally do not support the practice – they just believe it should be a women’s choice. If abortion is made illegal in certain states, there could be other ways to obtain one despite the narrative being bandied about by progressives.

On the other hand, pro-lifers believe that abortion ends an innocent human life, plain and simple. To us, it is a homicide, not just a simple medical procedure. By limiting abortion, we are saving the lives of hundreds and thousands of infants who get no say in the matter. In light of this, it makes sense that those who are seeking to save the lives of babies would be more passionate about the issue than someone who believes they are safeguarding the ability to choose to end a pregnancy.

Many pro-lifers are one-issue voters – they take the matter so seriously they will not vote for a candidate who does not prioritize the lives of unborn children. This is not the case for the pro-choice crowd. This is why Democrats are having trouble using abortion to motivate their people to turn out at the polls. As with most Americans, pro-choicers are more concerned about the economy, jobs, and other issues than they are about the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Democrats will still try to use the issue to push their agenda – even after 2022. But until the economic woes facing Americans today decrease, it won’t be on people’s radar.


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