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Democratic Poll Admits Another Unfortunate Truth for Democrats on Abortion Issue

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Ever since someone leaked a draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson opinion, pro-abortion Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have been claiming that abortion would be a rallying point to motivate voters to turn out in the midterms. When one looks to the polls, though, as we've been consistently pointing out, abortion just is not a top issue. Rather voters, especially the more enthusiastic ones and more likely to vote, care about economic issues, such as inflation. 

This remained the case even after particular moments, such as when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced legislation to ban most abortions, with exception, after 15-weeks, when unborn children can feel pain. The polls released as well as conducted in that same news cycle showed economic issues remained top of mind.

The importance of certain issues for voters remains the same and is noteworthy not just to do with current events, but to do with a wide range of polling as well. Earlier this week, my VIP piece highlighted how even polling from Data for Progress showed that Republicans have an edge when it comes to the congressional generic ballot. 

Interactive Polls has highlighted another uncomfortable truth--when it comes to the Democrats at least--from Data for Progress.

As a headline for Wednesday's release acknowledged, "Economic Issues Still the Priority for Midterm Voters."

"The continued relevance of the economy to likely voters shows that Democrats are still facing an uphill battle in the midterm elections. However, the importance of abortion to the Democratic base may help improve their chances," the release also pointed out when it comes to discussing what issues matter to voters. 

This is a Democratic organization, so it's not surprising that abortion would be discussed in the release in such a way. But even Data for Progress can acknowledge here, with the word choice of "may," that it's certainly not a foregone conclusion that the abortion issue will save Democrats from the likelihood that they will lose control of the House and the possibility that they will lose control of the Senate as well. 

This looks to be a separate poll than one that was previously released that showed Republicans ahead by 2 percentage points on the generic ballot. 

The poll gives voters a wide range of issues to choose from as the most important, and in various ways with different phrasing and exact framing. 

For instance, voters were given 16 issues, with "none of these" being a separate option, and asked "which do you think are the top three most important issues for a candidate for Congress to focus on."

Economic issues dominated the top two issues. Inflation had 37 percent support, while "jobs and the economy" had 35 percent support. "Climate change and the environment" was a more distant third with 23 percent, tying with "crime and public safety."

"Abortion rights" was in a three-way tie for eighth place with that issue, as well as "corruption in government" and "healthcare" each having 20 percent support.

Voters were also given eight issues, with "don't know" and "none of these" also being options. They were then asked "which of the following two issues would you say has made you more likely to vote in the upcoming Congressional election in November?"

Nearly a majority, at 49 percent, chose "inflation and rising prices." The abortion issue, phrased as "Overturning Roe," came in at a distant second, at 28 percent. "Gun violence" was not behind as third, with 25 percent. 

When broken down by political party, the issues had a clear partisan divide. When it comes to what issues made them more likely to vote, the top for both Republicans and Independents was "inflation and rising prices,"  at 63 percent and 49 percent, respectively. For Democrats, that issue came in as the fourth most important, at 33 percent. Rather, Democrats were more concerned about "overturning Roe," which 45 percent selected. That issue was second for Independents, at 31 percent, and tied for fifth for Republicans, at 9 percent. 

The poll also reinforced not just the importance of economic issues, but how these issues being so important for voters bodes particularly well for Republicans. 

There were nine issues that voters were asked to say whether they blamed the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or neither party. They were also able to say they didn't know. Of those nine, Democrats carried more or equal blame as Republicans on five issues. 

Almost half of respondents, at 49 percent, said they blame Democrats for the "cost of food, gas, and other basic necessities." Slightly more respondents actually said they blame neither party than they were to blame Republicans, at 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Other issues Democrats had more or equal blame on included "increased crime," with a divide of 43 percent-26 percent; "increasing divides between the people of this country," at 41 percent each; "inaccessible or unaffordable housing," by 35 percent to 29 percent; "low or unlivable wages," by 34 percent to 33 percent. 

Respondents were also asked which party they thought "would do a better job" addressing 16 issues. Republicans enjoyed greater support on six issues, by healthy margins, and many of them on these most important issues. These include "jobs and the economy," by a split of 52 percent to 39 percent; inflation, by 52 percent to 35 percent; "national security and foreign policy," by 50 percent to 36 percent; "crime and public safety," by 49 percent to 36 percent; immigration, by 48 to 39 percent; and "government spending and budget deficit," by 46 percent to 33 percent. 

These particular results are also in line with other polls. As Guy and I highlighted about a recent NBC poll, Republicans have particularly large leads when it comes to how voters trust them to handle these particularly pressing economic issues. 

This Data for Progress poll was conducted September 10-12, with 1,473 likely voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

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