Democrats are panicking because Roe was never as popular as they pretended
Democrats have insisted for years that Roe was popular. So why would they be panicking over the issue of abortion being returned to voters?
The reality is that abortion polls are more complicated than Democrats pretend they are, and Roe is only “popular” in name, not in practice.
A CBS/YouGov poll found that 59% of people disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 64% of people disapproved of the decision. Democrats would like to leave the discussion there, but polling goes deeper than people’s vague assumptions about what Roe meant.
For example, an Associated Press/NORC poll found that 61% believe abortion should be generally legal during the first trimester of pregnancy, while that number drops to just 34% during the second trimester. The second trimester begins in the 14th week of pregnancy, and restricting abortion then was not allowed under the Roe and Casey abortion regime. A Wall Street Journal poll found that more people supported 15-week abortion bans than opposed them. That was the length of the Mississippi law in question, which, again, was not allowed under the court’s previous abortion jurisprudence.
It gets even more complicated. In 2019, a Hill/HarrisX poll found that 55% of registered voters thought that “heartbeat bills” were either “just right” or that they weren’t strict enough. Heartbeat bills would place a ban on abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Needless to say, people cannot reasonably support Roe while supporting the restrictions mentioned above. The logical conclusion is that Democratic politicians and legacy media have successfully misled people about what Roe and Casey meant for legal abortion. Most people want abortion laws that are more restrictive than those decisions allowed. Now that their states will be able to pass those restrictions, Democrats are panicking, because Roe’s “popularity” won’t prevent that from happening.
Democrats have been drowning the public debate on abortion in euphemisms and vague talking points. Now that the Supreme Court has removed their safety net, that strategy will no longer suffice. Democrats will have to explain to voters why there should be no restrictions on abortion and why they oppose even the modest restrictions that most people support as those policies are brought to a vote across the country. Neither the perception of Roe nor its actual effects will save them now.