Abortion rights will be a top issue in midterm elections, Pew study finds

An August Pew Research Center poll found that 56% of US voters now say access to abortion is "very important," an increase that has come virtually all from Democrats.

 ABORTION RIGHTS demonstrators protest outside the US Supreme Court, as it announced the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision in June. (photo credit: JIM BOURG/REUTERS)
ABORTION RIGHTS demonstrators protest outside the US Supreme Court, as it announced the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision in June.
(photo credit: JIM BOURG/REUTERS)

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion, most of the United States electorate (56%) now say access to abortion is “very important” to their vote in November’s midterm elections, up 13 percentage points since prior to the decision in March, a new Pew Research Center poll found. 

The survey, which polled 7,647 American adults during the first two weeks of August, found that virtually all of the increase was among Democrats: 71% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters rate abortion as very important, while fewer than half (46%) said this in March – a 54% increase. By contrast, Republicans’ views have shown nearly no change since then (41% now, 40% then).

Economy remains a top voting issue 

For Republicans, the economy remains the top issue in the upcoming elections. Nine out of ten GOP voters view the economy as very important, roughly 20 percentage points higher than any other issue, according to Pew.

Other issues that the polling company reports are important to the US electorate include gun policy, healthcare and Supreme Court appointments. 

 US President Joe Biden adjusts his glasses as he delivers remarks during a signing event for the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, August 9, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN) US President Joe Biden adjusts his glasses as he delivers remarks during a signing event for the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, US, August 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)

The next Commander in Chief 

Both parties similarly rated President Joe Biden's approval as low. 

Some 37% approve of his job performance, while 60% disapprove. That approval rate is unchanged since early July and comparable to former president Donald Trump’s job rating at about this point in the 2018 congressional campaign (40%).

Most Republicans still want Trump to remain a major figure, the poll found. Among those who express this opinion, more want him to run for president in 2024 (39% of all Republicans favor this) than to support another candidate who shares his view (23%). These views have shifted since last September, when 67% of Republicans favored Trump continuing as a major figure and slightly more (44%) wanted to see him back in the White House.