New poll ties abortion with economy as most important issue of midterms

Abortion is now statistically tied with the economy as the most important issue of the upcoming midterm elections, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

The poll found that 26 per cent of respondants feel that the economy would be the most important issue for them this fall, while 25 per cent said abortion — a 16 percentage point increase from 2018. Healthcare and immigration were the next two most important issues to voters.

Abortion is more important in congressional voting to women than men, with 43 per cent of women identifying the issue as extremely important in comparison to just 27 per cent of men.

The surge in emphasis on abortion rights comes just a week-and-a-half after a draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito overturning Roe v Wade and ending the federal right to abortion was leaked to Politico.

Four conservative justices are reportedly set to join Mr Alito’s opinion, while the court’s three liberals are set to dissent. Chief Justice John Roberts’ position is, as of now, unknown.

The final opinion is expected in June. If it is largely unchanged from the draft opinion leaked last week, it would remake the abortion care landscape in the US.

Abortion would be outlawed in nearly all cases in numerous states, leaving millions of Americans hundreds of miles away from their nearest point of access for abortion care.

On Wednesday, a Democratic effort to pass a law enshrining a national right to abortion care was soundly defeated in the Senate by a 49-51 vote. Every Republican member of the chamber voted against the measure, which needed 60 votes to pass, as did West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.


The increase in voter emphasis on abortion did not, in this particular poll, significantly alter the topline result: voters prefer Republicans to Democrats in control of Congress by 36-34 percent and 48-44 percent when factoring in voters leaning towards one party or the other.

Given structural advantages that favour Republicans, a four point Republican popular vote victory in November would likely mean the end of Democratic control one or both chambers of Congress.

Voters are much more unified in their views on Congress’ job performance: only 15 per cent of voters approve of the job Congress is currently doing, while a whopping 77 per cent disapprove.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating is similarly bleak: just 38 per cent of voters approve of his performance, while 57 per cent disapprove. That split is the worst of Mr Biden’s presidency.

Democrats hope that the abortion issue could help lessen the enthusiasm gap the president’s party often faces in midterm elections, and the polling data shows that Democrats and Independents are placing a bigger emphasis on the issue now than they did in 2018 — while Republicans are placing less emphasis on it.

What is not known, however, is whether some voters will penalise Democrats for their inability to codify Roe into law or punish their party leadership’s embrace of anti-abortion members like Texas congressman Henry Cuellar, who is a runoff against pro-choice challenger Jessica Cisneros later this month.

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