The Supreme Court's overruling of Roe v. Wade brought a surge in women registering to vote, particularly in the red state of Kansas in the months after the decision.
The New York Times analysis found more than 70% of Kansas' new registrants were women in the week immediately after the ruling, and in the month after — among 10 states reviewed — 55% of new registrants were women. That latter figure represented a 5-point uptick from the month before the ruling.
The 10 states reviewed by the Times included: Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico, and Maine.
There were more voter registrations for both men (9% more) and women (35%) after the abortion decision in those states, but the uptick for women was much more pronounced.
"For a lot of older women here, when they look at the abortion issue, they remember what it was like before Roe was decided," Wichita State University professor Alexandra Middlewood told the Times. "For independent and moderate Republican women, this wasn't a partisan issue. It was an issue that affected them, and still affects women today."
While Republicans are banking on President Joe Biden's struggling economy, Democrats are leaning into abortion to impact turnout in their favor. A Times/Siena College poll noted 9% of women ranked abortion as the most important issue in these midterm elections, compared to just 1% for men.
"We know that what motivates voters is usually their pocketbook, the economic issue," Center for American Women and Politics Director Debbie Walsh told the Times. "But will it be the thing that gets them to turn out? What gets them to the polls could be the abortion issue. It could be that fear."
The Times pointed to primary victories in campaigns — particularly in deep blue New York — where candidates who made abortion a key issue in their campaigns outperformed polls for victories this summer.
And while the Times noted new registrations do not always translate directly into higher turnout, polling does show the abortion issue is important to women.
Kansas' midterm turnout was "unusually high" for Democrats (roughly up 5 points), a state that voted down a referendum to effectively ban abortion in the state.
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