Abortion rights have long been ballot winners — but post-Roe, even more so
Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, abortion rights have become a major voting concern for many people in the United States. In many elections, candidates on both sides make abortion rights an issue—sometimes as a wedge issue to wedge their opponents out of favor. With the recent wave of restrictive state laws regarding abortion access, abortion rights have become even more salient in American political discourse, and this has had an increasingly direct impact on electoral outcomes.
Various studies have shown that in the wake of Roe v. Wade, abortion has been a winning ballot issue for pro-choice candidates running for office. The most common example of this is the election of pro-choice presidential candidates in every election since 1976, which has been largely attributed to the increasingly meaningful support for abortion rights that Roe v. Wade provided. This trend is likely to continue in the post-Roe era, as state-level abortion restrictions are seen by many advocates of reproductive rights as a direct threat to Roe v. Wade.
Moreover, the development of “rights-based” campaigns for pro-choice candidates—essentially campaigns that emphasize the rights of those seeking medical abortions and the need to protect those rights—have been particularly successful in recent elections. This has been seen in both congressional and gubernatorial elections, with pro-choice candidates receiving higher levels of support from voters who are perhaps more motivated by a sense of preserving basic rights than in previous elections.
In conclusion, since Roe v. Wade, abortion rights have become a major electoral issue, and post-Roe, this issue has only grown in prominence. As pro-choice candidates have increasingly run on a rights-based approach to abortion access, the issue is predicted to continue to be a winning one at the ballot box.