Dave Kopp/AFP via Getty Images
Voters in Kansas on Tuesday overwhelmingly refuse A ballot initiative would open the door to major abortion restrictions in the state.
It’s the first political test of voters’ appetite for state abortion restrictions because Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June.
Decisive vote against restricting abortion rights extremely conservative country Political strategists on both sides are recalibrating their views on the upcoming midterm elections.
“Excellent, [Tuesday] Personally, as a consultant who has worked on this for 32 years, that night was a slap in the face for me,” said Chuck Rocha, the top Democratic special agent. “When the Supreme Court made this When it came time to decide, I was one of them. Saying that if it’s your problem, you’ve picked a team – you’re already a red or blue team, will have some impact, but not a major one. “
But after seeing a staggering number of voters turn up in one of former President Trump’s states Win by 15 points in 2020Rocha believes abortion rights will eventually play a bigger role in November’s elections.
“It’s a testament to the energy surrounding this issue, I think [Tuesday] historic,” he said.
Republican strategist John Fehry said the Kansas result should be a “wake-up call” for Republicans.
“Pro-Life Republicans Need Action on AbortionDobbs, because they’re all over the place,” he said. “The problem is, there are people who want to be the most conservative candidate in the primary, but they take positions that aren’t popular with the majority of voters. So they need to tread carefully, they need to calibrate, they need to know where the majority of voters are — and the majority of voters are in the middle. They are not at either extreme. “
He said Republican candidates need to make it clear that their views on abortion “have nothing to do with same-sex marriage, and certainly not about contraception,” two issues Democrats forced to vote in Congress to get their GOP colleagues on the record For or against, because of concerns that the Supreme Court’s decision may jeopardize other rights. Last month, 195 House Republicans vote against legislation Designed to protect access to birth control.
Feehery said that while Tuesday’s results sparked enthusiasm among Democrats across the country, the “reward” for Republicans is that abortion isn’t the number one issue facing the country.
“Inflation and the economy are more important to most voters, and I think that’s why they vote,” Feehery said.
According to the most recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/marister pollsinflation is the number one issue for Republicans and independent voters as they consider the midterms; registered Democrats put abortion at the top of the list.
Huge number of voter registrations for post-Dobbs women in Kansas
Despite the surprise vote in Kansas, what struck Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic data firm TargetSmart, was the scope of the large electorate.
“When you analyze the data, you tend to get excited when you see changes that deviate from the norm, maybe five or six points — that tells you that something meaningful happened, something that was out of the norm. In this case, we’re seeing something out of the ordinary. The bar is 20 points higher,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything at this intensity.”
More than 900,000 people cast their ballots in Kansas on Tuesday, a level of participation that surpassed primary turnout and approached the state’s high turnout for the 2018 general election.
Republicans have a huge voter registration advantage in the state.
“[The results] Prove that Democrats can strip away some moderate Republican women who see it very personally,” Rocha said.
Bonier analyzed voter registration numbers before and after June 24, when the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion.
“What we saw there was extraordinary,” Bonier said. “70% of new voter registrants in Kansas are women. If you look at the same period in the last election cycle, new voter registrants were almost completely evenly split between men and women.”
Dobbs’ decision engages women in Kansas to an unprecedented level.
This graph shows the percentage of women among new registrants in the state (7-day average). Note the spike after the Dobbs ruling was leaked, and the surge after the Supreme Court announced it. pic.twitter.com/pvi3WpuR86
— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 3, 2022
Bonnier also pointed to the number of young people who registered to vote after the Supreme Court decision — more than half of whom were under the age of 25.
“In the 2018 election, the so-called blue wave was largely driven by the unprecedented massive increase in youth turnout. So the question we’re asking ourselves now is, what we’re seeing in Kansas this week is The first indicator of something like this happening in 2022, are we going to see a huge increase in the number of women running in this election that could have surprising results?”
Demographic changes will also play a role in November, Rocha noted.
“For the first time in American political history, voters of color will have a greater impact on who controls Congress. This particular choice issue overindexes and affects people with lower incomes, primarily young women of color, ” he said, pointing to major Senate races in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.
“if [abortion] is a motivating factor, and it proved Tuesday to inspire young black and brown voters, especially young black and brown women, that could be the sleeping giant of this year and will be a story that will be told for a long time. “
A Democratic pollster sees what’s happening in Kansas as ‘a sea change’
This year, a Record number Abortion measures in state vote and problem will be a factor Vote up and down other races in November, including governor, Senate, House of Representatives, state Supreme Court and state attorney general.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said anti-abortion-rights voters “think they won, so they don’t have as much energy” after the Supreme Court decision.
“We’re seeing pro-choice voters, especially women, young women and baby boomer women who remember how it was before Roe v Wadebecame very dynamic, 10 to 20 points more dynamic than voters who opposed the choice,” she said. “It’s a sea change.
She heard voters in focus groups worrying about a “slippery slope” — the idea that reducing abortion rights could lead to the backsliding of other rights.
“They worry about marriage equality, they worry about voting rights protection, they worry about birth control, they worry about abortion,” Lake described. “The voters in our focus groups asked, ‘What’s next?'”
The Kansas result is a “devastating loss” for the anti-abortion rights movement, said Mallory Carroll, vice president of communications for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
“The question now is what lessons will pro-life Republicans learn from this disappointing loss?”
She said Republican candidates should be “very clear” about their positions, including whether there are situations in which they believe abortion should be allowed, and not shy away from confronting the topic.
“Republicans need to drop what they’re doing right now, which is in many cases pretending to like the issue [of abortion] Not there, but focusing on inflation, gas prices, crime, etc., to bring them to the finish line,” she said. “There’s no question that these are very prominent concerns for voters. But if pro-abortion Republicans fail to define themselves and what their policy stance is, pro-abortion Democrats will do it for them. “
White House Responds — And Praises ‘The Power of American Women’
“The courts are literally in this country where women dare to go to the ballot box and restore their choice,” President Biden said Wednesday during a virtual meeting with the White House reproductive health task force.
Biden said Republicans and the high court “have no idea about the power of women in America.” “Last night in Kansas, they found out.”
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
At that meeting, Biden signed his Second Executive Order Designed to preserve access to abortion. The order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to “consider actions to promote access to reproductive health care services, including through the Medicaid program, for patients traveling abroad to receive reproductive health care services.”
This Order Instructions HHS “Considering all appropriate actions” to ensure that healthcare providers comply with non-discrimination laws so that people “receive necessary medical care without delay,” noting that providers may be “confused or unsure of their Compulsory court judgment.”
But Biden himself has acknowledged that there are limits to what he and his administration can do to adequately protect abortion rights.he issued many times “Vote, Vote, Vote” message In November, increased the number of Democrats in Congress to codify abortion rights into federal law and brought legislation to his desk for signature.