Texas’ near-total ban on abortion has sparked a national controversy that may drive more Americans to the ballot box, as a new poll finds that law—and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court could roll back abortion rights by overturning Roe v. Wade—has made a majority of voters more interested in casting a ballot in the 2022 midterms.
The poll, which was conducted by Lake Research and Emerson College Polling with the nonprofit All In Together, found the Texas abortion law Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) makes 59% of respondents nationwide “more interested” to vote in 2022.
Democrats are more motivated than Independents or Republicans, with 68% of Democrats saying the law makes them more interested versus 48% of Independents and 52% of Republicans.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade when it considers an abortion case later this term, which would strike down the federal right to the procedure, 55% would be more interested in voting in 2022, including 66% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans.
Women in demographics more likely to be pro-abortion rights are particularly motivated: 64% of Democratic women said overturning Roe v. Wade would make them more interested to vote and 72.5% of women ages 18-29 said the same about SB 8, along with a majority of Black, Latina and Asian American/Pacific Islander women.
Voters are split on their approval of the Texas abortion law: 47% oppose it and 46% support it—though more are strongly opposed to it than strongly in favor—with women opposing it by 12 points and men supporting it by 11 points.
The poll was conducted September 22-24 among 1,000 registered voters nationwide.
51%. That’s the percentage of respondents who are “almost certain” they’re going to vote in the 2022 midterm elections, with a further 21% saying they probably will. The abortion debate could stimulate additional enthusiasm among Democrats, as only 49% said they’re currently almost certain to vote versus 59% of Republicans.
Though women were generally most likely to have the abortion debate spark their interest in voting, the possibility of Roe v. Wade getting overturned actually makes more men motivated to cast a ballot than women—57% of men versus 54% of women.
Though abortion may be a motivating factor in getting people to vote, only 7% of voters rated it as their top issue in the 2022 midterms. Respondents are primarily concerned with Covid-19 (21% said it’s their most important issue); healthcare costs and prescription drug prices (15%), rising prices (13%); national security (13%) and climate change (9%).
There’s been a renewed national focus on abortion rights since SB 8 went into effect September 1, as the law marked the most extreme restrictions on abortion to take effect in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The law bans nearly all surgical abortions after approximately six weeks into a pregnancy, and also seeks to avoid judicial scrutiny by deputizing private citizens to enforce the law by suing anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion. The law took effect as abortion rights in the U.S. were already under threat, as the conservative-leaning Supreme Court will hear arguments December 1 in a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. That case will broadly consider whether abortions can be restricted before the fetus is viable, which could be death knell for Roe v. Wade. Thousands of protesters came out across the country to show their support for abortion rights on Saturday in light of those rights coming under threat, and Democrats in Congress are attempting to enact legislation that would codify abortion rights in federal law to combat any state and judicial actions.
What To Watch For
SB 8 is already inspiring copycat legislation in other states, given the fact the bill’s private lawsuit provision makes it harder to strike down in court. A Florida legislator became the first to introduce such a bill in late September, with lawmakers in other states expected to follow. The poll found 49% of respondents want their state to pass a similar law while 43% disagreed, though more people strongly opposed such legislation than strongly approved (33% versus 25%).
New Poll: Looking Ahead to the Midterms and the Impact of Abortion Bans (All In Together)