You know Republicans are deeply screwed when even the Wall Street Journal, the world’s most prestigious conservative-leaning newspaper, finds in its own poll that support for abortion rights is the number one factor motivating Americans to vote in a coming election—the same election that the GOP previously appeared to have in the bag.
“Republicans were cruising, and Democrats were having a hard time,” Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, who conducted the poll, told the WSJ. “It’s almost like the abortion issue came along and was kind of like a defibrillator to Democrats.”
The new poll found that 60 percent of voters support abortion rights in most or all cases, up five points from March. And voters cited the Supreme Court’s June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, “as the single issue most likely to make them vote this November.” Abortion outpaced the issues of inflation, border security, gun violence, and the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago in inspiring voter turnout, per the poll.
White, suburban women in particular—a demographic that notoriously broke for Trump in 2016—seem to be flocking to the Democratic Party. They responded to the WSJ poll that they would now back a Democratic candidate over a Republican, 52 to 40 percent.
Before the Supreme Court decision, Republicans were expected to easily take back control of the U.S. Senate and House this November. But early results in primaries and special elections are already looking very bad for them: On Wednesday, Alaska elected a Democrat to Congress for the first time in 50 years, and Kansas voters (who favored Trump in 2020) overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have ended abortion rights in the state.
As some Republican candidates scrub extreme anti-abortion stances from their campaign websites, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is already trying to make excuses for Republican losses this November, citing “candidate quality” as the problem. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, fired back at McConnell on Thursday, saying he disagreed with the strategy of shitting on one’s own candidates.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, clearly feeling the wind at its back, responded in a statement: “We know Rick’s been yachting in Europe so we’re happy to catch him up: his flunky candidates are still failing, his party’s position on abortion is still unpopular, and his fellow Republicans are still openly complaining.”
Of course, a lot can happen between now and November, and polls aren’t ballots. But as horrifying stories pour out by the day of women and pregnant people forced into unimaginable suffering by the removal of abortion rights, the national mood on the subject is unlikely to change.
I’m just going to drop the WSJ lede here, because it’s remarkable to read this in that particular newspaper: “Democrats are entering the homestretch before November’s election in better shape than earlier this year, boosted by gains among independent voters, improved views of President Biden, and higher voting enthusiasm among abortion-rights supporters.”
It’s looking as if Republicans badly miscalculated the impact of snatching away half a century of reproductive rights.