There was every reason to expect a close election.
Rather than Mars A huge success Abortion rights advocates in Kansas, Roe v. They provided some more concrete evidence that the Supreme Court’s decision to quash the hunt had changed the political landscape. The 59-41 victory in a Republican stronghold suggests that Democrats will be the party of excitement on an issue where Republicans typically have an emotional advantage.
The Kansas vote indicates that 65 percent of voters nationwide would reject a similar effort to roll back abortion rights, including in more than 40 of the 50 states (a few states on each side are close to 50-50). This is a rough estimate based on how demographic characteristics predicted the results of recent abortion polls. But it’s an evidence-based way to arrive at a clear conclusion: If abortion rights get 59 percent support in Kansas, it’s doing better than it does nationwide.
That number is in line with recent national surveys that have shown increased support for legal abortion since the court’s decision. The high turnout, especially among Democrats, confirms that abortion is not just some issue important to political activists. Because the stakes on abortion policy have become so high, it can automatically pay for high turnouts like the midterms.
None of this proves that the issue will help Democrats in the midterm elections. And there are limitations to what can be derived from the Kansas data. But the slanted margin makes one thing clear: The political wind is now at the backs of abortion rights supporters.
A surprisingly decisive decision
There wasn’t much public polling ahead of the Kansas election, but the best available data suggested voters were evenly split on abortion.
In A Times Collection In a national poll released this spring, 48 percent of Kansas voters said they thought abortion should be legal, compared with 47 percent who thought abortion should be legal. Similarly, the Cooperative Election Study 2020 found that of the state Registered voters were evenly split on whether abortion should be legal.
Results of similar recent polls in Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia point to a close race in Kansas — perhaps even edging out a “no” vote to protect abortion rights.
Like the Kansas vote, a “yes” vote on each of those four states’ attempts would have amended a state constitution to allow significant restrictions on abortion rights or funding for abortions. In contrast to Kansas, efforts were passed in all four states, including A 24 point win in Louisiana in 2020. But support for abortion rights outstripped support for Democratic presidential candidates in relatively white areas in all four states, particularly less religious areas outside the Deep South.
It’s a pattern that suggests that abortion rights would have far greater support than Joe Biden did as a candidate in a relatively white state like Kansas — perhaps pro-survival of abortion rights.
Given the state’s long tradition of voting Republican, it may seem surprising that abortion supporters even have a chance in Kansas. But Kansas is more reliably Republican than conservative. The state has an above-average number of college graduates, which has skewed toward Democrats in recent years.
Kansas Donald J. Voted for Trump About 15 percentage points in 2020 should be enough to do that Very safely Republican. However, it is not entirely the case for Democrats. Republicans learned this the hard way; Look no further The Democratic Party won the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Even so, a landslide victory for abortion rights in Kansas doesn’t seem like a likely outcome based on polls or recent initiatives. Possible explanations for the surprise: voters may be more supportive of abortion rights after Roe’s reversal (as national polls suggest); Because these efforts have real policy consequences, they may be more wary of eliminating abortion rights; Abortion rights supporters may be more motivated to head to the polls.
Abortion rights advocates don’t always find it so easy to advance their cause. They defended the position in Kansas; Elsewhere, they will try to overturn abortion restrictions.
Whatever the explanation, if abortion advocates can do as well as they did in Kansas, they have a good chance of protecting abortion rights anywhere in the country. The state may not be as conservative as Alabama, but it’s more conservative than the nation as a whole — and of no consequence. closer There are only seven states — the Deep South and the Mountain West — where abortion rights supporters would be expected to fail in a hypothetical similar effort.
Change in vote count
If there’s any rule about partisan voting in American politics, it’s that registered Republicans turn out at higher rates than registered Democrats.
Although the Kansas figures are still preliminary, registered Democrats appear to be more likely to vote than registered Republicans.
Overall, 276,000 voters participated in the Democratic primary, which was also held Tuesday, compared to 451,000 who cast ballots in the Republican primary. The number of Democrats was 56 percent of the number of registered Democrats in the state, while the number of Republican primary voters was 53 percent of the number of registered Republicans. (Unaffiliated voters The second largest group in Kansas.)
In Johnson County, outside Kansas City, 67 percent are registered Democrats changedCompared to 60 percent of registered Republicans.
That’s a rare feat for Democrats in a high-turnout election. In nearby Iowa, where historical turnout data is easily accessible, turnout among registered Democrats in a general election has at least never surpassed turnout among registered Republicans. 40 years.
Better Democratic turnout helps explain why the result was less favorable than expected for abortion opponents. It confirms that Democrats are now more enthusiastic about the abortion issue, reversing a pattern from recent elections. That could boost Democrats’ hopes that they can buck a long-standing trend for the president’s party to have poor turnout in midterm elections.
For Republicans, polling figures may offer a modest silver lining. Abortion won’t be the only thing on the ballot and Republicans will have more reasons to vote — including control of Congress — than they can reasonably hope will turn out more favorably in November’s midterms.
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