Another day, another poll showing Democrats benefiting politically from the end of Roe. Which was predictable, as data dating back decades showed that Americans wanted to keep the ruling on the books. Overturning it was destined to jolt the country — temporarily.
The question was never whether Dem enthusiasm would rise in the aftermath. The question was and is whether it’ll drop off again as the tremors from the political earthquake die down. There’s a straightforward argument that it will. Combine voters’ short attention spans with chronic financial pain from high inflation and, perhaps, a dawning realization that the end of Roe doesn’t mean the end of abortion altogether and many liberals may decide that they can’t get motivated to get off their couches on Election Day after all.
But there’s a straightforward argument the other way too, that the aftershocks from Dobbs have only just begun. The tremors from the ruling itself will fade in a week or two but then comes the inevitable “Republicans overreach” period. The more onerous and intrusive red states get in trying to prevent abortions, the more liberals will feel jolted anew. And since there are a bunch of ambitious Republican governors in red states looking to impress the base ahead of 2024 — DeSantis, Abbott, Noem, etc — the competitive pressure towards overreach is high.
Time will tell. For now, though, yes, the libs are getting a “Dobbs bounce.” So says Morning Consult:
Hardly any enthusiasm gap between the two sides at the moment. Sixty-five percent of Democrats now say that abortion rights are “very important” to their vote, and 58 percent of independents say that they’re either very important or somewhat important.
The real news is the generic ballot. After finding the two parties tied last week at 42, Morning Consult has Dems inching ahead to 45/42. That’s now officially part of a trend, as other post-Dobbs polling also shows Democrats making gains.
Not a mega-surge, obviously, but if Team Blue outperforms expectations by three points this fall, that’s the difference between a red tsunami and a red wave. (There’s been a small bit of movement away from Republicans and towards Democrats lately in prediction markets too, for what that’s worth.) The “reach” districts in the House where Republicans face a seven- or eight-point disadvantage may end up just beyond the party’s grasp instead of flipping thanks to higher Democratic turnout driven by abortion.
Although they’d never admit it, I’m sure Pelosi and Schumer are quietly hoping that red states go full metal conservative in banning abortions and then strictly enforcing those bans. Dems have nothing else to run on; sustained public outrage at abortion restrictions is their best bet to keep their voters engaged once we’re all paying eleven dollars a gallon or whatever for gas this fall.
If Republican governors are willing to do their part and crack down hard on pregnant women, the pro-choice backlash could become an irresistible force in the election. But if it does, it will run headfirst into American politics’ immovable object: Joe Biden’s unbelievably crappy approval ratings. Four days removed from the end of the Roe era, the president has somehow reached a new all-time low in the RCP average.
To give you a sense of how terrible that is, Trump’s job approval immediately following the insurrection dropped to 39.3 percent — higher than Biden’s approval now. His all-time worst numbers came early in his presidency when he notched a 37.1/58.1 rating, and Biden isn’t far from matching that degree of disapproval. In fact, he’s at a new high in that metric today.
Endangered House Dem Abigail Spanberger was asked this morning on Fox whether she intends to have Joe Biden campaign for her in her purple district. Her answer: Joe who?
Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger on if she wants Biden to campaign for her: “I intend to do the campaigning myself.” pic.twitter.com/15RAWDzD5v
It was kind of Dana Perino to suggest that a D+1 district is a toss-up this fall. Republicans tend to overperform on Election Day so the generic ballot polling showing Dems up a mere three points means Spanberger is almost certainly an underdog at the moment. And if you believe Trafalgar’s new generic ballot poll, she’s not just an underdog, she’s a dead woman walking. This margin augurs total national annihilation for Dems:
Even in an environment that cataclysmic, a backlash to Dobbs could help Democrats save a few seats by the skin of their teeth. But it ain’t gonna be the D+1 seats. It’s gonna be the D+10 seats.
For instance, Patty Murray won her last Senate election in 2016 by 18 points. The latest polling in Washington state this year:
Murray (D) 48% Smiley (R) 43%
6/14-6/19 by Tarrance Group (B+) 600 LV NOTE: partisan (R) poll
Another new poll shows a Republican candidate leading in a congressional race in … Rhode Island, in a district that hasn’t gone red in 30 years. Murray will probably end up winning. But unless the Dobbs backlash is much, much harsher than anyone expects, you’ll need a double-digit built-in advantage if you’re a Democrat to feel confident about victory this year.