Post-Dobbs Democrats: All Bark, No Bite

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With only a few short months left before the midterm elections, the nagging question many are still asking is what, if any, impact the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade will have?

Admittedly, there have been some indications that Republicans ought to be concerned that, maybe, the anticipated red wave has been stymied by the ruling. For example, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll taken after the ruling indicated that a higher percentage of Democrats say they were more likely to vote in the midterms since the ruling than Republicans. “78% of Democrats say the court’s decision makes them more likely to vote this fall, 24 points higher than Republicans,” according to NPR.

Related: Dems Angry After Their Strategy of Legislating via the Judiciary Backfires

The two most recent polls still show Republicans with a good lead. Rasmussen has Republicans up by eight points, and Fox News has them up by three points. Two prior polls, however, showed the Democrats on top. The most recent YouGov survey had Democrats up by three, and the latest Politico poll had them up by four points. The latter poll, I would argue, is a bit suspect, since Politico’s generic ballot polling has been one of the few polls to have consistently shown Democrats with an edge in generic ballot polling this year, while most polls have given the GOP a clear edge.

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YouGov, however, reported a swing from GOP +5 immediately after the Dobbs decision was released to Dems +3 a couple of weeks later. That’s nothing to sneeze at. However, YouGov’s generic ballot polling has been similarly favorable to Democrats, showing Democrats up as much as 6 points earlier this year—even before the Dobbs draft opinion was leaked. If we assume that the Dobbs decision was a watershed moment that changed Democrats’ fortunes in an otherwise unfavorable political environment, then it’s hard to explain why the Democrats’ edge in the latest YouGov poll is smaller than it had been prior to Dobbs.

All of this means that there is very little reason to believe the Dobbs decision will have any impact on the midterms. Perhaps part of that is because we’ve essentially known since early May that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey would likely be overturned when the draft majority opinion was leaked—blunting the impact of the final decision being released.

Personally, I believe that if there were any chance that Dobbs would have changed the trajectory of the midterm elections, we would have seen definitive evidence of this in polling after the draft decision was leaked.

Nevertheless, Joe Biden is hoping that the abortion issue will save his party and thus, his agenda. Earlier this month, Biden predicted that women will turn out in “record numbers” for the midterm elections to “reclaim the rights” taken from them.

“In my view, it is my hope, and strong belief, that women will, in fact, turn out in record numbers to reclaim the rights that have been taken from them by the court,” he said. He also said he needs “two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law.”

Sorry, Joe, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

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