A new generation of abortion voters

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When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, it created shock waves that reverberated through American politics, helping Democrats stave off a Republican rout in the midterm elections.

But there were always questions over whether the issue would endure with the same intensity. Would abortion rights continue to motivate Democrats in the 2024 elections? Or would the issue follow the path of “parental rights” for Republicans — a seemingly potent rallying cry that quickly faded?

New polling from KFF, a nonprofit organization focused on health policy, offers an early signal. It suggests that the Supreme Court ruling fundamentally realigned U.S. politics, in a way that may be more durable than Republicans might like.

The KFF poll, conducted in late February, suggests that the end of Roe created a new class of energized abortion-rights voters.

About 12 percent of participants said abortion would be the “most important issue” to their vote in the 2024 election. That includes 28 percent of Black women, 22 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of women in states where abortion is banned and 17 percent of women of reproductive age (18-49). Of the voters who said abortion was the most important issue, two-thirds said it should be legal in all or most circumstances.

That’s a big change. For decades, Americans who opposed abortion were far more likely to describe themselves as single-issue voters. Even during the last presidential election in 2020, a larger share of self-described “pro-life” voters were more likely to say the issue was important to their vote than self-described “pro-choice” voters.

Now, those numbers have nearly flipped, with political enthusiasm transferring to the pro-abortion-rights side of the debate.

The poll showed Republican voters are divided over abortion. About four in ten say they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 43 percent support securing a federal right to an abortion.

But majorities of Republicans still view abortion very differently than much of mainstream public opinion on the issue.

Eight out of 10 Republicans view abortion as a “moral issue,” while 96 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of independents see it as one of “individual rights and freedoms.”

A clear majority of the survey respondents (58 percent) do not support a national 16-week ban, but most Republicans (61 percent) support it.

Half of Republicans support a federal ban on abortion pills, compared with only one-quarter of independents and Democrats.

Those conservative views illustrate why Republican politicians have struggled to unify around an abortion message that works both for their base and the independent voters they need to win in battleground states.

In his opinion, Justice Samuel Alito argued that Roe had “enflamed debate and deepened division.” But the Supreme Court’s decision plunged the country into a far more contentious national conversation. And a steady drumbeat of news developments has lifted the political resonance of abortion in the minds of many voters.

A ruling last month by the Alabama Supreme Court prompted several fertility clinics in the state to suspend I.V.F. treatments. That set off a national outcry — and another round of difficult questions for Republican lawmakers.

Such cases have heightened fears among some voters that other reproductive rights could be restricted. Fewer than half of Americans — 45 percent — said they consider the right to use contraception as “secure,” KFF’s poll found. About four in 10 voters say this year’s election will have a “major impact” on access to contraception.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging the availability of a commonly used abortion pill. The case — and the burst of news coverage that will certainly follow — will once again remind voters that abortion rights will be on the ballot in November.

House Republican leaders are pushing forward with legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the social media app or face being barred from the United States — despite the opposition of former President Donald Trump.

Trump, who vowed to ban TikTok while in office, has changed course and is vocally opposing the bill, a move that will test his ability to continue tanking bipartisan legislation in Congress from the campaign trail.

Earlier today, Trump offered a rambling explanation for his reversal, saying he did not want to alienate young voters or empower Facebook, which he considers a mortal foe.

In an interview on CNBC, Trump said that he still considered TikTok a national security threat, but that banning it would make young people “go crazy.”

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it,” Trump said. “There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

“There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad with TikTok,” he added, “but the thing I don’t like is that without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media.”

Annie Karni and Jonathan Swan

Read the full article here.


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