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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Dobbs Plus Two

Our 2020 book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. Abortion was a big issue in the 2022 midtermIt will be a big issue in 2024.

Charlie Sykes at The Atlantic:

Although there has been progress in some states to strengthen the safety net for women and children after Roe, those steps have been overshadowed by the rush to enact punitive criminal bans. In the past two years, 14 states have enacted near-total bans on abortion, while three states have imposed six-week bans. Oklahoma is among the states that have banned abortion, with the only exception being to save the life of the pregnant woman. Some legislators want to go even further: A freshman state senator in Oklahoma has proposed legislation that would charge women who terminate a pregnancy (with limited exceptions) with murder. After Ohio enacted a sweeping ban on most abortions, young girls who had been sexually assaulted—including a 10-year-old—reportedly had to cross state lines to terminate their pregnancy (the Ohio law is no longer in effect—the state has enshrined abortion rights in its constitution). In Texas, the strict new abortion laws have generated confusion over how doctors should treat miscarriages, and the state’s “fetal heartbeat” law appears to have been associated with an increase in infant deaths, according to a new study. Last month, Texas’s supreme court ruled against women who said that the state’s abortion ban put their health at risk.

The fallout has dramatically shifted the public’s perception of the issue. As the reporter Kate Zernike writes in today’s New York Times, “The question is no longer just whether you can get an abortion, but also, Can you get one if pregnancy complications put you in septic shock? Can you find an obstetrician when so many are leaving states with bans? If you miscarry, will the hospital send you home to bleed? Can you and your partner do in vitro fertilization?”

The political backlash has been intense, badly damaging the GOP in the 2022 midterms. In state after state—including deep-red states such as Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana—voters turned out to pass initiatives to protect abortion rights or to defeat anti-abortion measures. This fall, referenda on abortion will be on the ballot in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and South Dakota. Other states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, and Nevada, may join them.

 Megan Brenan and Lydia Saad at Gallup:

A record-high 32% of U.S. voters say they would only vote for a candidate for major office who shares their views on abortion. The importance of a candidate’s abortion stance to one’s vote is markedly higher among pro-choice voters than it was during the 2020 presidential election cycle, while pro-life voters’ intensity about voting on the abortion issue has waned. Also, voters’ greater intensity on the issue today compared with 2020 is explained mainly by Democrats, while Republicans and independents have shown little change.

An examination of voters’ responses to this question based on their stance on abortion shows that pro-choice candidates stand to benefit more than pro-life candidates from single-issue abortion voters. Specifically, nearly twice as many pro-choice voters (40%) as pro-life voters (22%) say they will only vote for a candidate who agrees with them on abortion. This is the third consecutive year that abortion-centric pro-choice voters have outnumbered abortion-centric pro-life voters in the U.S., marking a reversal of the pro-life advantage between 1996 and 2020.

As a result of these changes, the 32% of all registered voters who say they will only vote for candidates who share their views on abortion now includes 23% who are pro-choice and 8% who are pro-life. (Another 1% don’t identify with either label.)

Before 2022, electoral energy was more balanced or leaned toward the pro-life side. During this time, no more than 10% of voters said they were pro-choice and would only vote for those with the same beliefs and no more than 13% of voters identified as pro-life and would only support candidates with the same position.
The increase in pro-choice Americans who say they prioritize the issue when voting may have helped Democrats blunt Republicans’ anticipated gains in the 2022 midterm election and would appear to be an even greater advantage for the party today. One cautionary note is that all of the increase since then in voters saying they will only support candidates who share their position on abortion has occurred among Democrats. A slight majority of Democratic registered voters (52%) now say this, up from 37% in 2022.

In an era of hyper-partisanship and where candidates generally align with their party’s position on the abortion issue, this isn’t likely to affect whom Democrats vote for, but it could help drive Democrats to the polls. Meanwhile, independents’ and Republicans’ focus on the issue has been steady at just over 20%