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Abortion Is Now a Top Issue Driving Midterms, Due to Far Right Supreme Court

Fifty-six percent of voters now say abortion is a top issue for the midterms, compared to 43 percent in March.

Abortion rights demonstrators gather near the Washington Monument during a nationwide rally in support of abortion rights in Washington, D.C., on May 14, 2022.

A new poll finds that abortion is now a top issue for a majority voters in the midterm election this fall. Abortion is now polling above issues like immigration after far right extremists on the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Pew Research Center finds in a survey conducted earlier this month that 56 percent of registered voters now say that abortion is a top issue for this year’s elections. This is up 13 points from March, when Pew found that 43 percent of voters said that abortion was a top issue. Overall, this means that more voters now see abortion as a top priority than they do issues like foreign policy and immigration.

Nearly all of the increase has come from Democratic respondents, Pew found. While 46 percent of Democrats said abortion was a top issue in March, 71 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say as such. Republicans and Republican-leaning voters showed virtually no change, meanwhile.

Other issues saw major shifts over the course of the spring and summer. Gun policy and violent crime gained the concern of more voters, with 62 and 60 percent of voters, respectively, saying they view the issues as top priorities. Voters’ top issue remains unchanged since March, however; over 3 in 4 voters say that the economy is a top issue for them, nearly identical to the proportion of voters who said the same in March.

The poll also found that, while more Republicans say they’ve given “a lot” of thought to this fall’s elections, almost as many Democrats as Republicans now say that it “really matters” which party gains control of Congress this fall, in contrast to a significantly smaller share of Democrats who said the same back in spring this year.

This polling comes after a tumultuous summer that saw a slew of far right decisions from the Supreme Court, including the revocation of federal abortion rights. Reporting has found that just two months after the overturn of Roe, a third of American women have lost access to nearly all elective abortions (though not only women can get pregnant, and abortion rights have consequences that affect more than just an abortion seeker).

Several mass shootings also brought the issue of gun violence to the forefront for many Americans in the past months. Shootings in Chicago, Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, the latter of which left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead, caused the issue of assault weapon ownership to resurface in the public consciousness.

The Pew results echo other polling, which shows that Democrats have been seeing gains in polls and likely have better chances at holding on to Congress this fall than are usually expected for the party that’s in control of the White House. Indeed, a poll published earlier this month shows that 50 percent of Americans now say that they want Democrats to win control of Congress this fall, compared to 43 percent of people who think Republicans should win Congress.

This data supports the predictions from political pundits and political experts that overturning Roe would give Democrats an edge this fall. Other polls show that voters oppose the Supreme Court ruling and overwhelmingly believe that abortion should be legal in all, or at least some circumstances.

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