Going back to the 1990s, Gallup poll Americans were evenly divided between those who called themselves “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” Exit polls from the 1990s and 2000s have shown that voters who said abortion or “moral values” were more important to their vote picked up larger numbers for Republican candidates.
But these surveys are when the right of the land was an abortive right. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ending last year’s decision, the constitutional right of Americans was opposed by broad opposition to narrowly adopted or proposed abortion in GOP-controlled states. And it’s clear that public questions about the matter probably need more questions now.
Abortion commentary has a long history. In the 2000 presidential election, a Los Angeles Times national poll found that more George W. Bush voters rated abortion as one of the two most important issues than Al Gore voters, and voters were split 50-50 on whether or not abortion should be legal. It is illegal (although with exceptions).
Those polls gave voters three options when measuring their opinion on abortion: keep it legal, make it illegal with exceptions, or make it illegal with no exceptions.
Now the four-point question is probably the best measure of where Americans sit on the issue: legal in all cases, legal in most, illegal in all, and illegal in most. The 2022 national poll used this technique, with 29 percent of voters believing abortion was “legal in all cases,” while another 30 percent thought it was “legal in most cases.” That left 26 percent who thought it should be “illegal in most cases” and only 10 percent who said “it should be illegal in all cases.”
That leaves roughly one-sixth of voters voting for legal abortion in the majority — narrowing the old median with some restrictions — and just over a third who want it to be completely or mostly illegal.
The case of Wisconsin is instructive on this front. 1849 ban imposed by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs makes the decision to make almost all abortions a felony (a matter of close opinion by only 10 percent of national voters). The ban is now up for debate, and voters are well aware that whoever wins Tuesday’s election will help decide the case, which is almost certain to end up before the state Supreme Court.
It helps explain the breadth of Protasiewicz’s victory in the state, where five of the state’s past six major states for president, senate and president have been decided by three points or fewer. Republican GOP candidate Dan Kelly lost the state Supreme Court race by a similar margin in 2020, but he lost the Democratic presidential primary, which was held at the same time as the state Supreme Court election. (Then-President Donald Trump, who endorsed Kelly in that race, was the only nominated candidate to appear on the GOP primary ballot, giving Republicans little reason to do so).
Results from Tuesday’s election are still in, but some of the top counties in smaller and more liberal voters suggest an important turnout. Protasiewicz ran a huge number in counties with large colleges and universities, such as 82 percent of voters in Denmark County (University of Wisconsin-Madison), 73 percent in Milwaukee (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University) and 54 percent in Winnebago County. (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh). Those returns were greater in all three counties than Evers, and turnout in Dane and Milwaukee was higher as a share of the public vote than in the 2022 midterms.
In addition to the abortion numbers, it also struck a personal chord for some voters, according to Margie Omero, a Democratic pollster who has conducted research on the race but has not worked directly with Protasiewicz.
Omero describes the focus groups that dominated the abortion issue. “Questions many times, people who really spoke personally about their medical crisis or the abortion they had when they were young, having a friend who left the state,” said Omero, adding, “Everybody. [focus] the group was such a story – in which you had to stay with the group because they were crying, and everyone was comforting that person.
But nearly a year removed from POLITICO’s first report, the Supreme Court is poised to strike goat v. WadeAbortion is not going away as a political point. In another state, Florida, Republicans are debating the abortion crash, as GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is preparing to enter the presidential race. State legislators in Tallahassee are undecided about sending a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy to DeSanti’s desk soon, replacing the 15-week ban the state just passed last summer.
After the defeat in Wisconsin — along with many others, including abortion-related ballots in red states — such a strict prohibition is thrust into the national public opinion. And it raises the question: How, if at all, can Republicans find a message that puts the party more in line with the old median?
One of the stakes: Paint Democrats as too permissive, willing to “support abortion on demand, with almost no justification, up until the time of birth,” as the Republican National Committee newspaper put it on Thursday.
But those attacks fall very flat. President Joe Biden has repeatedly said he supports Roe v. Go framework that allowed states to impose modest restrictions on abortion later in pregnancy. And secondly Centers for Disease Control and Preventiononly 1 percent of abortions in 2020 occurred after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
For example, some conservatives are encouraged to take a more moderate stance. Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) Last year he proposed a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks – introducing limits in states where there are currently none, although states could enact more restrictive bans.
Virginis Gov. Glenn Youngkin, himself a possible 2024 presidential candidate, supports a 15-week ban similar to Florida’s current law. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List called it a “compassionate bill” and touted a poll earlier this year showing a majority of voters in Virginia supported blue-collar workers. The group’s website features areas of public-opinion data showing popular support for 15-week bans.
Although the issue has turned in their favor, Democrats oppose their plans to go as far as fighting to increase access to abortion, while some activists are fighting to remove any measure from the ballot, even the most extreme ones. states
But the information is getting clearer now. The goat v. Wade The framework—making abortion generally legal, but allowing states to impose moderate restrictions—is where the majority of American voters are. From the midterms, Wisconsin, potentially to the 2024 elections, they continue to punish the party that deviates further from it.