Democrats are pushing the rise of abortion as a major voting issue in Midterms

Biden’s job approval remains low; A decreasing proportion of voters say he will be a factor in their midterm vote

The Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how the public controls Congress, the issues for the upcoming midterm elections, and confidence in the conduct of the election. For this analysis, we interviewed 7,647 adults, including 5,681 registered voters, from August 1-14, 2022. The survey was conducted primarily on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, with an oversample of Hispanic adults from the Ipsos KnowledgePanel.

Respondents in both panels are recruited through national random sampling of residential addresses. In this way, almost all US adults have a chance to choose. The survey is weighted to be representative of the US adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, political party affiliation, education and other categories. See the Methodology section for more details. Read more about the methodology of the ATP.

Here are the questions used for the report and its methodology.

While the economy remains the dominant issue in this fall’s midterm elections, the abortion issue has gained significant traction among Democrats after the Supreme Court ended the federal guarantee of legal abortion rights in the United States.

A majority of registered voters (56%) say the issue of abortion will be very important in their mid-term vote, up from 43% in March. Virtually all of the increase is among Democrats: 71% of registered Democratic and Democrat voters rate abortion as very important; less than half (46%) said so in March. In contrast, views among Republicans and GOP leaners have changed little since then (41% now, 40% then).

The two parties are essentially tied in terms of midterm election intentions: 44% say they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district or lean toward the Democrat in an election today, while 42% say they would vote for the Republican or the slim Republican would be right. One in ten registered voters say they are unsure, while 4% prefer a candidate other than Republican or Democrat.

A larger proportion of Republican than Democratic voters say they’ve given the upcoming election “a lot of thought.” However, Democrats are now almost as likely as Republicans to say that it “really matters” which party gains control of Congress in this fall’s midterm elections, a change since March when a significantly smaller proportion of Democrats than Republicans said so said.

The chart shows that the economy is the number one voting issue for GOP voters;  The Democrats rate several issues as very important, most notably healthcare

Pew Research Center’s new national poll was conducted Aug. 1-14 of 7,647 adults, including 5,681 registered voters. It was largely completed before FBI search of Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida as part of an investigation into whether Trump stole classified records from the White House, and the issuance of a a sweeping law endorsed by Democrats aimed at tackling climate change, healthcare costs, corporate taxes, and other issues.

Voters’ views on the importance of several issues — not just abortion — have changed since the spring. Compared to March, larger proportions say gun policy and violent crime are very important in their voting decisions. As with abortion, these increases are mostly among Democrats. During this period, the proportion of voters in both parties who consider foreign policy, energy policy and the coronavirus outbreak to be important issues has declined.

Republicans continue to view the economy as by far the most important issue in the upcoming election. Nine out of 10 Republican voters think the economy is very important, about 20 percentage points higher than any other issue.

Among Democrats, 77% see health care as a very important voting issue, while about two-thirds or more say the same about abortion and gun policy (71% each), the Supreme Court nomination (69%) and the economy (67%). and climate change (66%).

Four years after a midterm election that saw the highest turnout in decades, 68% of registered voters say it really matters which party gains control of Congress this fall; that’s identical to the proportion of voters who said so in August 2018.

The chart shows that Republican voters are more likely than Democrats to say they've given midterm elections

Republican and Democratic voters are now about equally likely to say that partisan control of Congress is really important (72% of Republican voters versus 69% of Democrats). The proportion of Democrats who say the outcome really matters has risen 9 percentage points since March (from 60% to 69%), while Republicans’ views have changed little (70% in March). Still, a larger proportion of Republicans (41%) than Democrats (34%) say they’ve been thinking “a lot” about the upcoming midterms.

Still, a larger proportion of Republicans (41%) than Democrats (34%) say they’ve been thinking “a lot” about the upcoming midterms.

The poll found that Joe Biden’s job approval rating remains negative among all adults: 37% approve of his job performance as president, while 60% disapprove of him. That’s unchanged since early July (37% agree) and comparable to Donald Trump’s job rating around this point in the 2018 congressional campaign (40%).

The chart shows fewer voters in both parties now say Biden is a factor in their midterm vote

More voters continue to see their midterm vote as an expression of opposition to Biden rather than support for him. However, the proportion of voters who say Biden doesn’t play a major role in their voting has risen among members of both parties since March.

Currently, about half of registered voters (49%) say Biden won‘t play a major role in their midterm election, while 31% see their vote as voting against Biden and 19% voting for him. The stock, which says Biden doesn’t play a big role in her voting decision, is up 11 percentage points since March.

Today, six in 10 Democrats say Biden won’t play a major role in their midterm vote, up from 47% in March. Fewer Democrats see their vote as an expression of support for Biden than they did five months ago (36% today, 46% then).

Republicans also view Biden as a lesser factor in their vote in Congress. Currently, 62% of Republican voters see their vote against Biden, while 37% say the president doesn’t play a major role in their voting decision. In March, 71% of GOP voters said their vote was against Biden, compared to 26% who said he wasn’t a big factor.

Other important results of the survey

The chart shows that about half of Republican voters are not confident the midterm elections will be conducted fairly

Republicans remain skeptical that the midterm elections will be conducted fairly. A majority of registered voters say they are confident that this autumn’s elections will be fair and accurate (65% are very or fairly confident) and that all citizens who want to vote can vote (75%). These views have changed little since March. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to have little or no confidence that elections will be conducted fairly (55% vs. 17%). And about a third of Democrats (34%) are not confident that all citizens can vote, compared to just 15% of Republicans.

Views of Biden’s personal attributes have become more negative since early last year. Just as Biden’s job-approval rating has fallen since the early months of his presidency, so have the public’s assessments of his personal attributes. Currently, a 54% majority of adults say Biden stands up for his beliefs. This is his highest rating among six traits included in the survey; in March 2021, 66% said he stood up for his beliefs. Biden gets his lowest ratings for being inspirational; 31% say this describes Biden.

Most Republicans continue to want Trump to remain an important figure. A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (63%) say they want Trump to remain a major national political figure for many years to come. Among those who express this view, they are more likely to want Trump to run for President in 2024 (39% of all Republicans support it) than to support another candidate who shares his view (23%). Those views have changed slightly since last September, when 67% of Republicans supported Trump remaining a major figure and 44% wanted him to run for president again.

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