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Is the Dobbs Decision Enough Really Enough to Change the Midterms Forecast?

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

As Spencer covered earlier on Thursday, Cook Political Report changed its ratings for five House seats, all to favor Democrats. The forecaster has been increasingly discussing how the upcoming November midterm elections, now a little over two months away, are starting to favor the Republican Party less than they did a few months ago. Recently, a post titled "Red Wave Looks More Like a Ripple" was posted to their site. 

When shifting the ratings change for those five seats, David Wasserman explained that there has been a "post-Dobbs spike in Democratic voter enthusiasm" that "could rein in GOP gains, allowing Democrats in bluer seats to breathe a bit easier."

In another recent post, which is linked to when it comes to the race forecast switches, "House Overview: GOP Control No Longer a Foregone Conclusion," the top issue listed in the five factors driving this supposed "shift" is that the "Dobbs ruling helping Democrats match or even overtake the GOP base in enthusiasm." The supposed proof is in Democratic "overperformances" in special elections for Nebraska's 1st Congressional District, Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, and New York's 19th and 23rd Congressional Districts.

It's not until later in that piece, past the paywall, that it's acknowledged Dobbs may not actually play that much of a role after all:

However, it's dangerous to read too much into these huge swings or extrapolate them to November contests. The four post-Dobbs races for which complete results are available (excluding Alaska, still pending at this writing) were extremely low-turnout, with participation ranging from 23% to 37% of 2020 turnout levels. By contrast, the November 2021 elections in New Jersey and Virginia drew turnout at 58% and 74% of 2020 levels, respectively.

Strong showings for Democrats in these sleepy, summertime races were driven by their advantage among highly-engaged, college-educated voters in places like Lincoln, NE, Rochester and Mankato, MN, and Ulster County and Ithaca, NY — liberal enclaves that aren't necessarily representative of the larger electorate in the fall. 

The U.S. Supreme Court officially handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson decision back in June, overturning Roe v. Wade. Democrats have been focusing more on the end of the so-called constitutional right to abortion though since early May, when a still unknown person leaked the opinion. As a result of the leak, conservative justices on the Court have been the targets of illegal protests outside their homes, as well as an assassination attempt even. 

While many of these forecasters and polls--and it's not just Wasserman and Cook Political Report, by the way--will ultimately admit abortion and the Dobbs decision may not actually matter all that much for overall voters throughout the country, it's often further down in the poll write-ups, or not mentioned at all, leaving readers to study the poll results themselves.

When voters do say they care about abortion and are motivated enough to vote, it's often Democratic voters, and and it's possible the issue will affect races in specific districts, states, and/or with specific candidates. 

One glaring and recent example is the CBS News/YouGov battleground tracker poll released on Sunday, which still acknowledged Republicans are still likely to have a majority in the House, but went with a focus of how it's a smaller majority than once predicted. Nevertheless, a majority is still a win, and it's almost certainly to be larger than the narrow majority Democrats currently have in the body with 220 Democrats. 

CBS News' Kabir Khanna tweeted out multiple highlights of the poll, including highlighting the abortion of the abortion issue. The poll's results, however, showed that only 59 percent of respondents considered abortion a "very important" including to the 81 percent who said the economy was "very important." A slim plurality of voters, at 43 percent, said their vote would not be about abortion.

That poll also show Republicans with a lead in the generic ballot and when it comes to voter enthusiasm, which was not highlighted by Khanna. 

Polls almost always have economic issues such as inflation as the top issue, and when abortion is mentioned, it's because the outlet is trying to make it such an issue, with Khanna and CBS News being one example. 

Another example included the FiveThirtyEight issue surveys, specifically the first one post-Dobbs. The headline, both the initial one and the later updated one, focused on abortion, despite it still only being the fourth most important issue. Inflation has consistently been the most important issue listed, every time. 

A deep-dive poll worth highlighting includes the AARP battleground poll. Although abortion was the third most important issue, it was still just 12 percent of overall voters and 10 percent of voters over 50 who said it was most important when deciding their vote for Congress. 

Even when it comes to the narrative that it's Democrats are motived by abortion, other polls still pour water on such a hope. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, for instance, found that 1 in 10 Democratic respondents pointed to abortion as their key issue. 

Overall, abortion is the seventh most important issue, with 5 percent selecting it.

A particularly trusted and consistently accurate pollster, the Trafalgar Group, has Republicans leading by 6 percentage points, 47-41 percent, among likely voters. 

FiveThirtyEight's generic congressional poll has Democrats with a slight lead of 0.9 percent, with 44.6 percent to Republicans' 43.6 percent. That lead is even smaller according to RealClearPolitics, which has Democrats at 44.6 percent while Republicans are at 44.5 percent. Of course, it's key to remind that pollster underestimated Republicans in the 2014 and 2014 election cycles. 

Mainstream media highlights abortion as a campaign issue, while also scrutinizing the supposed extremism from the Republican Party on the abortion issue, all while rarely or not at all doing the same when it comes to the Democratic Party's extremism. Such a position, held by most Democratic politicians, including President Joe Biden and furthered by his administration, is abortion on demand up until birth for any reason without any legal limits, paid for with taxpayer funds. 

This was recently highlighted when it comes to Republican nominee Blake Masters, who is running to replace Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ). While Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America applauded Masters for having "centered" his position on abortion, he was targeted by both sides for changing the information on his campaign website about this issue. NBC News, while wrote about Masters' website, failed to properly scrutinize Kelly's position, and also misled in its description of the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA). 

While it passed the House last September, the bill has been voted on several times in the Senate where it's failed every time. The bill would expand Roe v. Wade, and get rid of all pro-life laws passed at the state level. 

If Americans, particularly Democrats, are increasingly motivated to vote based on the abortion issue, it's because they're being radicalized by the mainstream media and the Biden administration's inflammatory rhetoric. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has doubled down on categorizing the president's Republican opponents as "semi-fascists," equating so-called insurrectionists with pro-life Americans.

Biden is likely to attack pro-life Americans in painting them as extremists when it comes to tonight's speech in Philadelphia. 


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