A.B. in the News

Democrats Should Campaign on Abortion Access During 2022 Midterms

Today, American Bridge 21st Century, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and EMILY’s List released new research, first reported by the 19th*, indicating that support for abortion rights is a winning issue heading into the 2022 midterm elections. The surveys reached voters across political ideologies in 11 key states with Senate or gubernatorial elections next year. They were conducted in late September and early October by ALG Research and Hart Research Associates, after Texas’s radical S.B. 8 abortion ban went into effect, and before Wednesday’s Supreme Court oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi case that could jeopardize Roe v. Wade.

Top findings include:

Even compared to other broadly popular issues, abortion drives voters to support Democrats over Republicans by a 71-point margin. It is the most motivating issue across mobilization and persuasion targets.

  • Eighty percent of voters surveyed said they were more likely to vote for a Democrat who favors leaving abortion decisions up to pregnant people and their doctors, and only 9 percent were more likely to support a Republican who favors making abortion illegal, including in early pregnancy.

Voters overwhelmingly oppose efforts to severely restrict abortion access and believe that Republicans are out of step with their personal views on this issue.

  • Seventy-one percent of women and 64 percent of men in the group said Republicans were “out of step with their own views” on abortion — more so than on guns, immigration, taxes or health care.

Support for Roe v. Wade is widespread and intense, and voters do not want to see it overturned, but few realize Roe is under threat today.

  • Only a third of voters said they thought Roe was likely to be overturned — but 55 percent said that if it was, their state was “very or somewhat likely” to pass new laws restricting abortion. This means voter education will be key. 

Awareness of the Texas abortion law raises the stakes for 2022 elections, but it is not a top-of-mind issue for many voters.

  • After hearing provisions of the Texas abortion law, two in three (67%) voters think that what is happening in Texas is relevant to their vote for senator or governor, especially if their own state or a candidate running for office in their state is considering a similar law.

Statement from Jessica Floyd, president, American Bridge 21st Century

 “While Democrats are focused on rebuilding an economy that works for everyone—including women and families—Republicans are focused on pushing abortion bans that are completely out of step with what Americans want. The data tells us what we have known to be true for a while: banning abortion is extremely unpopular. So much so, that protecting access to safe and legal abortion moves voters in favor of Democratic candidates by a large margin. Meanwhile, the GOP has made their priority around ending reproductive freedom and abortion access in all cases clear—now we need to communicate that to voters.”

Statement from Jenny Lawson, vice president of organizing and engagement campaigns, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“I’ve never seen polling like this before where abortion was so salient, both for the mobilization universe and a persuasion universe of voters. This feels like a turning point. The biggest takeaway from this new research is that elected officials should be unapologetic about protecting and championing abortion access. There’s no need to spin it; we just need to give voters the facts — and Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will be sure voters across the country understand what’s at stake.”

Statement from Laphonza Butler, president, EMILY’s List:

“We have always known that protecting abortion rights is the best policy and one that puts our candidates in the same place as a majority of voters. This research shows that abortion is a voting issue and a winning issue for Democrats. We are proud to support pro-choice women who will keep this fight going, and will be working from now until November to highlight the differences between the two parties.”

This polling is consistent with recent polls from the Washington Post and ABC, a Gallup poll, and a Marquette poll that find that the majority of Americans support Roe and abortion rights. Advocating for abortion rights is a winning political strategy that puts candidates in line with the majority of voters. Planned Parenthood Action Fund, American Bridge 21st Century, and EMILY’s List are proud to support candidates who unapologetically stand up for reproductive freedom and will not stop highlighting the stark contrasts voters will face at the ballot box. 

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