“Roe” Overturn Has Driven Spike in Young People “Very” Motivated to Vote

Young people in seven battleground states are more likely to say they’re “very motivated” to vote in the midterm elections now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, new polling reveals.

A polling memo by NextGen America, first reported on by Politico, finds that the proportion of registered voters aged 18 to 35 in seven battleground states who say they’re “very motivated” to vote this fall has jumped by 9 percent since March, before news of the Roe overturn was leaked in May.

In March, 38 percent of respondents said they were “very motivated” to vote, while 51 percent were only “somewhat” motivated. Now, 47 percent say they’re in the “very motivated” category, while 44 percent say they’re “somewhat” compelled, the polling finds.

While there was a 7 percent drop in the “somewhat” category, it’s possible that many of those respondents moved to the “very” motivated group, as 2 percent more people overall said that they were either “very” or “somewhat” motivated to cast a ballot.

The survey was conducted in Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The rise in motivation is likely directly related to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, the polling finds. About two in three respondents said that the decision, handed down in July, has made them care more about the results of the elections in November. About the same proportion agreed with the statement that “abortion rights are on the ballot” and that electing two more pro-abortion, anti-filibuster senators could be the step Congress needs to pass a law to protect the right to abortion nationwide.

Support for abortion protections is especially prominent among young female voters, the polling finds. Seventy-six percent of young women said they are opposed to the decision to overturn Roe, while only 18 percent said they support the decision. There is also majority opposition to the overturn among young female Republican voters.

While women aren’t the only people with the ability to get pregnant — and trans men and nonbinary people who can get pregnant are disproportionately affected by abortion bans — other polling has found that far more women disapprove of the Roe overturn than men.

The NextGen America polling also found that young voters are “down on” President Joe Biden, perhaps confirming that Biden and Democrats have not effectively utilized their power to defend abortion rights from cruel right-wing attacks, as abortion advocates have repeatedly pointed out.

NextGen says that the polling will guide the liberal group’s messaging ahead of the midterms. “The Dobbs decision has been a wakeup call for a lot of young people,” NextGen spokesperson Kristi Johnston told Politico. “Motivation is up because young people are dialed into what’s at stake.”

Abortion is indeed emerging as a top issue for voters this fall. Polling conducted earlier this month by Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of registered voters say that abortion is now a top issue for them, compared to 43 percent in March. Gun policy also saw an increase in interest over the summer, the poll found.