WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – A new poll finds a growing percentage of Americans who call abortion or women’s rights as priorities for the government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to Roe v. Wade to overthrow, especially among Democrats and those who support access to abortion.
With the midterm elections imminent, President Joe Biden and Democrats will seek to capitalize on that shift.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in remarks immediately after the decision that “reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November.” But with pervasive pessimism and a myriad of crises facing the nation, it is not clear whether the verdict will break through to motivate those voters – or just disappoint them.
“It feels like a big setback,” said San Diego 26-year-old Lauren Nelson, who was worried about the environment in which her young cousin would grow up. She does not think the medium term will change the rate that is said to be on. “You can’t help but feel kind of helpless, like there’s not much that can be done.”
READ MORE: A Michigan ballot initiative could help voters choose whether abortion is a protected right
Twenty-two percent of U.S. adults cite abortion or women’s rights in an open question as one of up to five issues they want the government to work on, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It has more than doubled since December, when an Associated Press-NORC poll found a significant increase in reports of abortion from years earlier, probably in anticipation of the Dobbs ruling on abortion.
The new poll, which included interviews conducted before and after the Supreme Court’s ruling, found that the prioritization of issues had grown sharply after the decision.
The Dobbs ruling kicks abortion decision back to states, and in the past week, Republican governors and lawmakers have moved to introduce or promote legislation that bans or restricts abortions.
Opinion polls conducted before the decision showed that it was unpopular among a majority of Americans, who wanted to see the Roe court just as late. A majority of Americans support access to abortion in general, although many say there should be restrictions. About a third say abortion should be legal in all cases, about a third legal in most cases, about a quarter illegal in most cases. About 1 in 10 say it should be illegal in all cases.
Mention of abortion specifically is not limited to Americans who support abortion rights; instead, the poll shows abortion is cited as a priority by about a quarter of adults with hard opinions on both sides of the issue – those who think abortion should be legal in all cases and those who think abortion should be legal in all cases be illegal.
READ MORE: Missouri’s last abortion clinic finds itself in the middle of Roe outbreak
Earnestine Smith, a 68-year-old resident of Waukegan, Illinois, said the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow Roe represents progress. The issue is currently one of her top priorities.
“We want abortion to be abolished and done away with,” she said. “We have to get up and say no.”
Yet it is significant that those with the most liberal views on abortion and those with the most conservative views are about equally likely to prioritize the issue; historically, research has shown that opponents of abortion were more likely to consider the issue important to them than those who supported access to abortion.
And the new poll finds that women’s rights are almost exclusively by those who think abortion should be legal.
According to the poll, the percentage of women who prioritize abortion or women’s rights was already higher in interviews conducted before the verdict than six months ago, 21 percent compared to 9 percent in December; it swelled to 37 percent in the days that followed. Mentions also grew sharply among men, but growth was concentrated in the aftermath of the ruling, from 6 percent in interviews conducted previously to 21 percent thereafter.
Lyle Gist said he would not have thought of abortion as a top priority a few years ago. The court decision to reverse Roe, though not surprisingly, makes it a big issue.
“I think the consequences of this are significant,” said the 36-year-old Gist from Los Angeles. Yeast thinks there will be ripple effects, including a “mass exodus” of people moving out of states with abortion bans.
READ MORE: The ‘air is thick with disbelief and sadness’ at a Louisiana clinic while abortion ends
In a small town in Louisiana in 1968, when abortion was illegal, Anne Jones became pregnant and gave her daughter up for adoption. Jones, now 74 in Plano, Texas, is worried about what the Republican Party could do next – such as birth control – and thinks it’s hypocritical that lawmakers like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott want to hold the woman accountable for the child she may not have. can afford to keep ”even though they limit health and social services for women and children.
“Politics in Texas has taken a wrong turn,” she said. She wants to see access to abortion made national law, but remains skeptical that Biden and Democrats can do it.
The poll shows that these issues were increasingly important to Democrats, and have grown from just 3 percent in 2020 to 13 percent in 2021 and now 33 percent. In pre-verdict interviews, 18 percent of Democrats mentioned abortion or women’s rights; it was 42 percent thereafter.
Among Republicans, 11 percent identify abortion or women’s rights as a priority in the new poll, a modest 5 percent increase it said in December.
Steven Lefemine, who is protesting outside the Planned Parenthood in Columbia, South Carolina, calls Roe’s reversal an “important measure” but says lawmakers need to do much more, including a constitutional amendment to protect unborn children.
“I would like to see legislation that conforms to God’s word,” he said.
LOOK MORE: LOOK: What to know about technological surveillance and access to abortion
Biden and Democrats promised to fight for access to abortion, but they struggled with how to act given the crippling opposition of Republicans in a sharply divided Senate. Biden told reporters on Thursday he would support an exception to the filibuster rule to codify Roe in law.
Roderick Hinton, who voted for Biden, wants to see the president move on court reform, saying the court’s decisions “do not fit in with today’s time.” He was angry after the court overturned Roe – that the older generation “puts the screws” on younger Americans, including his two daughters.
Biden has ordered a review by the Supreme Court after promising to do so on the campaign track, a response to rhetoric within the Democratic Party over the extension of the court to former President Donald Trump’s three conservative appointments. The report, released last year, has been cautious about proposals to expand the court or set time limits.
“Their lifetime position is really crazy,” Hinton said. “As neutral as the courts were, it is now becoming political. Their personal beliefs are put in place. ”
Associated Press / Report for America reporter Claire Savage in Chicago and Associated Press writer Matt Sedensky in New York contributed to this report.
The 1,053 adult survey was conducted from June 23 to 27, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.