From the Left



Abortion could swing persuadable Republican to the Democrats

John Micek on

Even if you’ve only been casually following the fiery debate over abortion rights in the days since a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion eviscerating Roe v. Wade became public, you are likely well aware that there are deeply entrenched opinions among those who support and oppose abortion rights.

You also are probably aware that party primaries up and down the ballot, along with this November’s general election, have taken on an even greater importance as a result.

That’s because the party that ends up controlling state legislatures and Congress, along with governor's mansions across the country, will have a major say on the future of abortion rights across the state and the nation.

But let’s take the spotlight off the partisans for a moment, and shine it on that small bloc of swing voters, the persuadable and independent voters, who don’t always get the attention, but nonetheless can determine election results with the power of their ballots.

The end of Roe, or a substantial reshaping of abortion rights by the nation’s highest court, could help Democrats motivate their own voters and lure persuadable, pro-abortion rights Republicans to their side of the ledger, according to a new analysis by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and the Project Home Fire data analytics project.

Number-crunchers talked to roughly 1,000 supporters of President Joe Biden and 1,000 supporters of former President Donald Trump voters before news of the draft opinion became public on May 2, which, like most things in our politics, feels like a lifetime ago.


Scoring respondents on a 100-point scale, based on the depth of their feeling, researchers asked Republican, Democratic and independent respondents: 1. How concerned they were about women losing access to safe and legal abortion services, and 2. Whether they believed abortion should be legal.

The responses among Republicans and Democrats were about what you would have expected of them, researchers found. Independent respondents, however, were more likely to land on the pro-abortion rights side of both questions, researchers noted.

Researchers also found that there were “a fair number of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who are somewhat in the middle on these questions (those who picked numbers ranging from 26 to 75 for both questions).

When it came to the question about whether a respondent was concerned about women’s access to safe and legal abortion services, "collectively, about 37 percent of all respondents landed in this category, including roughly equal numbers of Republicans (36 percent), Democrats (35 percent), and independents (39 percent)," they continued.


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