Vote Suggests Strong Support for Abortion Rights Nationwide

'NYT' analysis says Kansas vote likely would have gone the same way in all but 7 states
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2022 11:33 AM CDT
Vote Suggests Strong Support for Abortion Rights Nationwide
In this photo from July 14, a sign in a yard in Merriam, Kan., urges voters to oppose a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to allow legislators to further restrict or ban abortion.   (AP Photo/John Hanna)

(Newser) – Most analysts expected a narrow victory at best for abortion rights supporters in a vote in Kansas on Tuesday. Instead, they had an overwhelming win in the conservative state, which has energized the movement and upended predictions about this year's midterm elections. A ballot measure that would have removed the right to abortion from the state constitution was rejected 59% to 41%, and the New York Times reports that the vote suggests support for abortion rights is a lot higher than 59% nationwide. According to a Times analysis, 65% of voters nationwide would reject similar ballot initiatives.

The Times says the initiative to further restrict abortion likely would have passed in only seven states, all of them in the South or Mountain West, and out of those, the margin would be very close everywhere except Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia, abortion rights would be backed by 65% or more of the vote, according to the Times analysis. Kansas voted for Donald Trump by a 15-point margin in 2020, and ahead of Tuesday's vote, polls showed voters were around evenly split on the abortion amendment. The result came after much higher Democratic turnout than usual, demonstrating that the overturning of Roe v. Wade has "shifted the political landscape," per the Times.

Abortion rights groups are now looking ahead to similar votes in states including Kentucky and Michigan this fall, per Politico. Ahead of the Kansas vote, both sides spent millions on ads, and volunteers flew in from around the country. Neal Allen, a political science professor at Wichita State University, tells the media outlet that the "no" side succeeded with messaging about individual rights that appealed to conservatives. "The 'no' campaign's rhetoric about government overreach and intrusion into personal lives was very successful," he says. "Meanwhile, a big failure of the 'yes' side is that they weren't able to look credible to the electorate when they said that the amendment wouldn't lead to a ban on abortion." (Read more abortion stories.)

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