Yesterday the President of NARAL claimed the leaked draft decision would be a “major motivator” for women going to the polls this fall.
Asked by ABC’s Martha Raddatz if she thinks abortion will be “the issue” in the upcoming midterm elections, [Mimi] Timmaraju said, “This issue is a major motivator not only for Democratic base voters, not only for women but for Americans overall.”
“We have to explain to the American people that we can’t rely on the court anymore to protect our constitutional rights. We have to go to Congress, governors races, attorneys general who enforce these laws,” Timmaraju later added.
That’s clearly what Democrats and pro-choice leaders are hoping will be the case but we’re not seeing a lot of evidence to support it so far. Today Reuters has a story that suggests the leaked draft decision isn’t having much if any impact even among pro-choice suburban women. The sample size here is small but women Reuters spoke to in Phoenix, Arizona said they were more concerned about inflation than abortion.
[Laura] Wilson, 61, is pro-choice, voted for Democratic President Joe Biden, and knew all about the news last week that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision giving women the right to an abortion.
Yet Wilson said she is undecided about who she will vote for this November, and abortion rights are not a priority for her.
“It’s the economy and jobs,” Wilson said. She said she was disappointed in Biden, because of high inflation and “too many homeless people on the streets.”
Reuters spoke to a total of 21 women looking for indications of the kind of groundswell of support that Democrats are counting on. They didn’t find it.
Maria Alvarez, 46, a mother and a realtor, said she is pro-choice, but “I really don’t have a strong opinion on it.” She wants politicians who will take care of pocketbook issues. She had just completed a grocery shop that cost her $400, twice what she used to pay a year ago.
Of the 21 women interviewed by Reuters, five said they were pro-life and Republican, while 16 said they were pro-choice. Just two of the 16 said the issue was the top priority for them when voting this November, while half of the 16 were undecided about who to vote for in the Senate race because of concerns about the economy. The other half said they would likely vote Democrat.
So out of 16 pro-choice women, only half were willing to say they would vote Democrat this fall despite the draft decision overturning Roe. That’s the opposite of a groundswell of support. It’s a collective shrug.
When Reuters asked Sen. Mark Kelly’s office about the draft decision they got a response which mentioned abortion and inflation: “Arizonans know they can count on Kelly to continue his work to protect access to abortion, lower costs for hardworking families, and get our economy back on track – at the same time.” It seems Kelly’s office is aware that the draft decision isn’t going to be the leading issue this fall.
Last week CNN published a poll showing that while a majority of respondents said they thought Roe v Wade should not be overturned there was little evidence that feeling was turning into a seismic shift in the 2022 elections. On the contrary, voters who were happy about the possibility of Roe being overturned were twice as enthusiastic about voting in the fall as those who said overturning Roe would make them angry.
Of course the election is still six months away and Democrats have a big advantage in that the entire media is openly on their side in this debate. They also have the advantage of knowing when the final decision is supposed to be issued and can plan for more protests when that happens. So maybe given enough time and media outrage they can change this dynamic. Then again, inflation never sleeps. There may be moments when people decide they care about the fate of Roe but they’re likely to be caring about inflation nearly every day between now and November.