Why it matters: The inflation slowdown and lower gas prices also are big factors. But officials in both parties tell us abortion has animated Democratic engagement like no other issue since President Trump left office.
- The result: A reset for a party that was defensive and disillusioned before the Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned Roe v. Wade.
- 75 days from election day, Democrats now have a good chance of keeping the Senate.
- And keeping the GOP to a narrow win in the House is now a realistic possibility.
What’s happening: Abortion has helped drive primary-season triumphs for Democrats both in fundraising and in turnout approaching, and in some cases exceeding, historic 2018 levels.
The big picture: An Axios analysis found that Democratic primary turnout for governors’ races increased between 2018 and 2022 in five of the eight states holding contested primaries after June, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbsdecision.
- Over 922,000 Kansans showed up when an anti-abortion referendum was held in August, a significant turnout for a summer primary. The referendum lost by 18 points.
Recent polling confirms the growing significance of abortion rights in the midterm dynamic.
The bottom line: The economy is still the dominant issue for voters. But lower gas prices in recent week are helping improve the mood for persuadable voters — and signaling to base voters that they can afford to let themselves be mobilized by issues like reproductive rights rather than pure pocketbook needs.