Poll: Roe Decision Will Have ‘Net Neutral’ Impact on Midterm Voting

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The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will have a “net neutral” impact on midterm election voting, a new Harvard/Harris poll projected 

Pollsters asked 1,308 registered voters between June 28-29, 2022: “Does the decision make you more likely to vote in the midterms for a Democrat, for a Republican or not affect how you vote in the midterms?” Thirty-six percent said Democrat, 36 percent said Republican, and 29 percent said no effect. 

The results are contrary to Democrats’ strategy of drumming up fear before and after the Supreme Court’s decision, in order to stir support for the November elections. A Rasmussen Reports poll released this week similarly shows that a generic Republican candidate holds the same 5-point lead over a generic Democrat candidate as the week before Roe was overturned. 

The Harvard/Harris poll shows that 55 percent of voters oppose the Supreme Court’s decision and 45 percent support it. However, when voters were asked who should set abortion law in the United States, the greatest amount of voters said “state legislatures” (44 percent). Only 31 percent believe abortion law should be set by Congress and 25 percent by the Supreme Court, even though the court is not a lawmaking body.

Disapproval of the Supreme Court’s decision is especially notable given that Roe’s overturning does exactly what 44 percent of voters prefer: it sends the issue of abortion laws back to state legislatures. The confusion could be in part because one quarter of Americans mistakenly believe overturning Roe would make abortion illegal nationwide, according to a University of Massachusetts Amherst survey.

Sixty-three percent of voters said the nation’s highest court is still legitimate, compared to 37 percent who said it is not. Fifty-four percent of Democrat respondents said the Court is legitimate and 46 percent said it is illegitimate. Only 24 percent of GOP voters said the court is illegitimate, and 76 percent said it is legitimate. 

A majority — 59 percent — of voters said it is wrong for Democrats to call the Supreme Court illegitimate, including 34 percent of Democrat voters, 82 percent of Republicans, and 61 percent of independents. Sixty-six percent of Democrats polled said Democrats’ claim the Supreme Court is illegitimate is “right.” 

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