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NYT: Uh, Where's the Post-Dobbs Primary Turnout Bump for Democrats?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Fox News last Friday and this past Monday, I've been offering the analysis that it's too soon to say with certainty how the Dobbs decision from the Supreme Court – and the resulting overturning of Roe v. Wade – will impact the upcoming elections. I've noted that we saw a spike in interest and acrimony in early May after the draft opinion leaked, then intense interest in the issue subsided as other events unfolded and economic fundamentals reasserted themselves in the minds of the public. I suggested that we very well might see a similar trajectory play out now that the ruling has been issued. A few new polls show Democrats getting a generic ballot bump, with one showing Democratic enthusiasm shooting up to nearly match Republican intensity. Will that data be reflected elsewhere, and are they lasting phenomena? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but The New York Times is sounding the alarm that voter behavior that might be expected after an election-shaking earthquake "does not appear to be materializing": 

The Supreme Court decision ending the constitutional right to abortion was expected to motivate voters. Turnout in several states hosting primaries on Tuesday, however, appeared to be typically sluggish — at least so far. All of those states have various forms of early voting, meaning that many ballots may have been cast before the court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade case on Friday. In Illinois, election officials said that they expected average turnout — which is about 27 percent for the midterm primaries. A hotly contested Republican primary for governor and several intraparty matchups for the House could help lift the totals...As of the start of the week, unaffiliated voters had returned more early ballots in Republican primaries than Democratic ones, a reversal from 2020 and 2018, election officials said.

This information, coupled with the recent AP report about more than one million voters switching from Democratic to Republican registrations this cycle nationwide, still points in the direction of a red wave (size and scope TBD). And, of course, there's this

Biden remains in a deep hole, gas prices and inflation are still raging, and Americans are profoundly unsettled about their economic situation. Many expect a recession is coming. Those are the driving forces in this election. On the issue of abortion, a fresh Monmouth poll presents some interesting results. Unsurprisingly, most Americans oppose reversing Roe v. Wade, but support for legal abortion drops substantially after the first trimester. The poll asks the question quite strangely, but even within the weird framing, more voters say the rights of an "unborn fetus" outweigh the mother's rights starting in the middle trimester. This result is also part of the contradictory mess that so often characterizes abortion polling: 

Now that Roe has been overturned, just under half (46%) of the public would like Congress to pass a law allowing abortion nationwide, while 44% prefer to leave abortion law up to the states. Just 7% want a national ban. Most Democrats (80%) want a national law allowing abortion and most Republicans (69%) want to leave abortion law to the states. These results are basically unchanged from May. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (57%) say they would be bothered a lot if abortion was banned nationwide and just under half (46%) would be bothered a lot if certain states banned abortion.

Six-in-ten Americans are against overturning Roe, yet a majority – 52 percent – now say abortion laws should now be left up to states, or that the practice should be banned nationally (both of which are anti-Roe positions). Fifty-seven percent would be "bothered a lot" if a nationwide abortion ban were imposed (that is unlikely to pass, even if Republicans controlled all of Washington, though a much more popular and internationally-mainstream second trimester ban could be conceivable), but less than half say the same about state-level bans. Two other notes of interest from the Monmouth numbers: A majority of Americans say they're at least somewhat concerned that the Court will also go after other rights, like same-sex marriage. I think that's unlikely, for reasons explained here. Once (if) people start to realize SSM and birth control aren't going anywhere, will some of the current upset recede? And compare this result to how invested people are on economic hardship issues right now: 


The poll also asked about the direct impact of Roe being overturned. Only 3 in 10 Americans say individual states being able to ban or restrict abortion would personally impact them or their family – 13% say it would impact them a great deal and 17% say some. On the other hand, half (50%) feel they will not be impacted at all and another 18% do not expect much impact.

On the aforementioned global norms piece, some people have recently been discovering facts that many pro-lifers have been mentioning for years, but what few in the activist press ever highlight or even acknowledge: 

As a pro-lifer, I'm not going to pretend that the Dobbs decision and subsequent ripple effects will mostly redound to the benefit of Republicans, or to the underlying cause. There will be overreach, backlash, and setbacks. But one thing that the GOP and the pro-life movement have going for them is the abject radicalism of the pro-abortion Democrats, who go far beyond "pro-choice" in their policies and rhetoric. Their own "pro-choice" caucus is now disavowing the word "choice," for goodness sake. They are demanding abortion through the moment of birth, for any reason, on-demand, funded by tax dollars, with no conscience exceptions for healthcare workers. Short of CCP-style compulsory abortions, it's hard to imagine a platform that's more ghoulish and radical. That's where Democrats have decided to land (that's not an exaggeration, as literally all but two Democrats in all of Congress voted in support of such legislation), and it's a very assailable position. This sort of thing will also not sit well with a great number of Americans who may even consider themselves moderately pro-choice: 


And don't forget that in her zeal for abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to even tepidly condemn or discourage any of this. Disgusting: 

Multiple pro-life pregnancy centers were attacked over the weekend following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday. The FBI and local police are investigating a Saturday morning attack on a Colorado pregnancy care center as possible arson, police say. A fire broke out at Life Choices in Longmont at the Denver area center around 3:17 a.m. Saturday morning. The front door was broken and the property was vandalized with several pro-abortion messages spray painted in black paint. “If abortions aren’t safe neither are you,” one read. “Bans off our bodies,” another read.  A day before the attack, the far-left organization Colorado Liberation and Autonomy (COLA) posted a link to a map of pro-life pregnancy care centers created by two University of Georgia professors. The map refers to the centers as “fake women’s health centers.” COLA posted the link with a graphic that said, “Your local pregnancy care center tonight” and “mask up, stay dangerous.” A Virginia pregnancy center was vandalized Friday night, according to police. Multiple windows were shattered and pro-abortion slogans spray painted on the property. “Jane’s Revenge,” the name of a radical abortion group that has threatened violence against pro-life centers, was spray painted outside the doors of the center.


This will repulse many people. Americans dislike extremism, which is why court-packing remains broadly opposed, even in surveys that show majority disapproval of the Dobbs decision, and sinking approval of SCOTUS in general. I'll leave you with this: 

UPDATE - Two new data points today, with Biden hitting a new low, and Republicans gaining in a 2022 generic ballot survey, post-Dobbs:

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