President Joe Biden’s visit to the Hudson Valley and New York City this week is a reminder that the White House and Democrat messaging services must turn away from abortion politics to instead address the most important issue facing New Yorkers today. faced, namely jobs and the economy.
Biden’s visit to IBM to talk about job creation is a reminder that even in New York, abortion rights are not the panacea that Democrats need to win in November 2022. a resounding argument that Democrats must be elected to key races across the state to protect a woman’s right to choose. Biden is right in the policy of reproductive freedom, but wrong in the politics of putting so much emphasis on it as the winning issue.
In recent months, we have seen Democrats blindly deceive themselves that the abortion rights debate will be their electoral salvation in the November 2022 midterm elections. Indeed, based on our 20 years of studying public opinion and working on political races up and down the mood, what we see in the polls today is much more imagined than real.
And what further baffles us is that in our experience, Republicans tend to be the ones standing in line, and getting Democrats to agree on almost everything is like herding cats. Will Rogers’ famous quote that he “belonged (belonged) to no organized party” while a Democrat sounds as true today as it did in his day, at the turn of the last century.
Conventional Democratic thinking goes like this: The Supreme Court’s quashing of Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs decision has given Democrats a huge boost, and a surprising number of well-informed and experienced Democrats are even considering that the party should leave the House. can keep. as result. Just look at Kansas. Just look at Pat Ryan’s special election victory. But Ryan may have been an anomaly since he was elected on the same day that two prominent Democratic primaries were held in the district.
And so the Democrats are falling in line like never before — and much of this is due to a fundamental misreading of the poll data. And let’s be clear, this is not an academic point, millions and millions of campaign dollars are being funneled into abortion posts – both nationally and in races here in New York State. Indeed, a recent New York Times headline reads: “In an uphill battle to save the home, Democrats are betting on abortion rights.”
However, a careful reading of the recent Siena College poll makes it clear that the Democrat is breaking free. On the surface, the public seems overwhelmingly on the side of pro-choice Democrats, but the abortion issue is fading.
In the Siena poll, 67% of voters in New York opposed the Supreme Court’s quashing of Roe v. Wade, a very similar number to the 68% who felt so in their August poll. And further, 72% say abortion should be legal most or all of the time, similar to the 74% who thought so in August. The data is certainly consistent about where public opinion stands.
A simplistic reading of the poll data would suggest that Democrats are right about the money to turn the November 2022 midterm elections into a choice referendum. The problem is that the Dobbs decision is another day behind us every new day. And that leads us to wonder if anger over the toppling of Roe Vs. Wade may have come too early in the election cycle to matter in the waning days of the election calendar.
But digging deeper into the Siena poll tells a much more nuanced story — abortion is a second-rate issue for most voters — Democrats included. Only a clear minority of the electorate – liberal women vote on the issue and prioritize it as their leading issue.
Indeed, when Siena asked what the first and second most important point in determining their vote in November, abortion didn’t even come close to the leading issue — and again, this is a poll of New Yorkers. If abortion isn’t the main issue here, where is it?
As the most recent Siena College poll shows, the issue of abortion is cited by just 15% of voters, including just 20% of Democrats, as the top issue facing New York State. Abortion mentions the economy (50%), threats to democracy (34%), crime (29%) and national weapons policy (19%). So much for this problem as the silver bullet – it doesn’t even come close to the second big problem, let alone the first.
Of the in-demand group of Latinos with swing voters, only 11% cite abortion as the number one issue that will shape their vote in November — hardly the mobilizing problem of getting these voters into our franchise.
Biden should instead focus his posts between now and Election Day on how he plans to keep the economy out of recession, with economic growth policies, and encourage employers to provide on-site childcare — an economic problem that has plagued dozens of people. and tens of millions of American women behind. That is smarter policy – and smarter electoral politics.
Honan and Zeche are partners in the Democrats’ election and data analytics firm, Honan Strategy Group.