One Big Question: Will SCOTUS Leak Rewrite the Midterms?

Some say draft leak could work in Dems' favor; others aren't so sure
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2022 10:10 AM CDT
Could Abortion Be the Midterm Issue for Dems? It's Mixed
Protesters hold pro-choice signs at the state Capitol, on April 13, 2022, in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

(Newser) – A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court indicating its conservative majority will rule to overturn Roe v. Wade has people buzzing not only about the myriad health, logistical, and financial repercussions that could result, but also the political ones. FiveThirtyEight.com asks one big question in particular: "What would striking down Roe v. Wade mean for the midterms?" The Washington Post notes the development could "upend" the November elections by mobilizing Democrats, potentially shrinking the "enthusiasm gap that currently favors the Republicans." One possible results? Fewer GOP gains than expected.

Indeed, NBC News paints some Democrats as "energized" after the news, "capitalizing on a potentially seismic shift in the political landscape." That outlet notes the many rallies, requests for donations from Democratic politicians, and attacks on GOP candidates that have spontaneously emerged in the wake of the leak. But Politico sees a more tepid reaction: Although there's "broad consensus" that an overturned Roe would help Dems in certain congressional districts, "few believe it would be enough to offset the brutal midterm environment and President Joe Biden's sagging approval ratings," the outlet notes. It points out donations made in the day after the leak are a fraction of those made in the day after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

One Democratic pollster tells Politico that the abortion issue could be useful "at the margins," but that "to hold the House or Senate, we need inflation to go away." That tracks with how some say the GOP is approaching the development. Though Republicans are hoping their own base will be energized by the abortion news, they're looking to focus on other hot-topic issues such as inflation, border security, and crime. "Democrats are hoping they'll be able to use this issue to get voters to forget they're paying $4 for a gallon of gas," a Republican strategist tells NBC. "But until I see polling showing that's the case, I don't buy it." (Read more abortion stories.)

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