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Tipsheet

Democratic Strategists: Economy Will Be 'Number One Issue' in Midterms, NOT Abortion or Guns

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

In light of a draft opinion being leaked showing the U.S. Supreme Court is looking to overturn Roe v. Wade, and a string of mass shootings in recent weeks, some are hoping that abortion and guns will take the forefront in the upcoming November midterm elections, and that it will help Democrats. That's not looking to be the case, though. 

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Don't just take our word for it. Democratic strategists James Carville and Kevin Walling spoke to Fox News Digital, as did Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, and all agreed that the economy will be the main issue. They did all acknowledge that abortion and guns could play some role, especially in specific races. 

Carville's comments spoke to how they just historically aren't big issues:

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville poured water on the idea that concern over guns would make a significant impact in the elections and pointed to the country's economic woes as the main indicator for how the midterms could go.

"Historically it hasn't been a dominant issue," he said, referencing the impact guns could have on election results, but noted it could have a specific effect on some Democratic voters concerned about other "cultural" issues like the environment and abortion.

Carville admitted that the outlook for Democrats in the midterms was "not going in a very good direction," but that they could potentially "cut their losses short" if voters did decide to turn out over fears that a Supreme court decision ending Roe v. Wade would lead to future decisions they might oppose.

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Carville ultimately predicted Democrats' performance would depend on the economy, specifically pointing to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and income growth.

He argued "Democrats might do better" if those two indicators improved, but that for now it was "like watching two horses race back and forth."

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When it comes to those "fears" from Carville about "future decisions they might oppose" mentioned above, Democratic leaders have indeed sought to gin up such sentiments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been among those warning that the Court could next overturn the rights to same-sex marriage or contraception.

Messaging strategies from pro-life groups at an RSC meeting that Townhall was invited to last month, and the leaked draft opinion itself from Justice Samuel Alito, make clear that the upcoming decision will only affect abortion. 

Although Walling is "bullish" on Democrats' chances, he still acknowledged the economy will be the top factor:

Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Kevin Walling talked about the importance of issues like guns and abortion, but repeated the same argument made by Carville and Conway that voters' intentions would come down to the "bread and butter issues."

"It's still going to be inflation as the core focus, I think, of voters going to the polls," he said.

Walling stated that Roe v. Wade and guns could come into play in some races across the country where those issues stand out specifically for certain constituents, but that "it really is going to be the economy."

He added that "the million-dollar question" was which party would come out on top in November, but that he was "bullish" about Democrats' chances despite their economic challenges.

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When it comes to the Republican perspective, Conway had strong words for Democratic strategies and the Biden administration:

"The big problem for this White House… and the Democratic Party, is they've created so many other problems that are competing with abortion or guns among voters, and it's going to be hard to put those aside," said former Trump administration adviser Kellyanne Conway, specifically mentioning high gas prices, supply chain issues, and the shortage of baby formula affecting families with newborns.

Conway argued that Democrats were trying to capitalize on issues like abortions and guns, two topics she discussed at length in her new memoir, "Here's the Deal," but that they were "competing with themselves for voters" because of their handling of the economic challenges affecting Americans.

She added that Democrats were making "significant miscalculations" by thinking that voters only cared about certain issues, but noted that the recent shooting tragedies and concern over Roe v. Wade could still drive more people to the polls.

When it comes to polling, what polls have been released since the draft was leaked and now the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, show that Americans are still concerned about the economy.

A poll from Reuters/Ipsos conducted May 31-June 1 with 1,005 adults shows that 27 percent say "Economy, unemployment, and jobs" is the most important problem facing the country today. Twelve percent chose "Crime or corruption."

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A poll from The Economist/YouGov conducted May 28-May 31 with 1,500 adults shows that another plurality, at 15 percent, choose "Jobs and the economy" as the most important issue to them. Just 8 percent chose guns and just 7 percent chose abortion. 

A deep dive poll from FiveThirtyEight released last month, which I analyzed at the time, shows inflation being the major issue Americans care about most. Pew and Gallup polls show the same. 

The upcoming midterm elections are now just a little over five months, where Republicans are predicted to win back control, especially in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last week, Cook Political Report had updated its predictions to favor Republicans even more heavily. 

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