Before the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling last month, the general view was that the November midterms looked much better for Republicans than Democrats, with a strong likelihood that Republicans would take majority control of both houses of Congress for the last two years of Joe Biden’s current term.
(As I’m sure you know, the party of the incumbent president almost always loses seats in the midterm, and Joe Biden’s low approval ratings made it seem even more likely.)
But reaction to the court’s alarming and highly partisan decision to overturn Roe seems to have energized Democrats much more than Republicans. The number below come from a Marist Poll, done for NPR and PBS shortly after the court ruling, with analysis by Chris Cillizza and Shania Shelton of CNN:
*More than 3 in 4 Democrats (78%) said the court’s decision made it more likely that they would vote in the fall. A slim majority of Republicans (54%) said the same.
* Democrats now lead on the generic ballot question (“If the election were today, would you vote for the Democrat or the Republican for House”) 48% to 41% over Republicans, a remarkable 10-point swing since an NPR poll in April.
* And just in case you think those numbers are an outlier, a new CBS/YouGov poll conducted in the wake of the Roe ruling showed 6 in 10 Americans — and 67% of women — disapproving of the court’s decision.
Two analysts note: “While these numbers may be cold comfort to many who see states — particularly in the South — already moving to put bans on abortion, they do suggest that the court may have unwittingly shifted the debate in the midterms.”
And while I hope they are right, I would add that these poll numbers come a lot closer to the abortion ruling than to the midterm elections. The obvious question, which can’t be answered at present is whether the shift, especially the shift in Democratic enthusiasm, will hold up till November.