Consistent with other polling, Quinnipiac finds: “American voters agree 63-31 percent with the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Men agree 61-32 percent, while women agree 65-30 percent . . . Republicans disagree with Roe v. Wade 58-36 percent. Every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group agrees.” A much higher percentage of voters support keeping Roe than identify as pro-choice, suggesting either they aren’t sure what Roe is about, or they personally prefer abortions not happen but are fearful of the political firestorm that will envelop the country if it is effectively reversed.
Interestingly, it is a very close call when it comes to holding off on the nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court. (“American voters are divided on when the U.S. Senate should consider President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, as 46 percent say the Senate should consider the nomination and 48 percent say the Senate should not consider the nomination until after the November elections.’) It might behoove Democrats to explain why it should be postponed (e.g., it’s a fair response to the GOP’s treatment of Merrick Garland; Trump’s presidency is under a cloud until the special counsel’s report is released; we should not approve Supreme Court justices by a 50-49 vote).
Likewise, by a very substantial margin of 55 percent to 33 percent, voters would rather see a 60-vote threshold instead of the current 51-vote requirement for Supreme Court justices. Perhaps Senate Democrats should make that an issue in the campaign. We can clearly see that a 60-vote requirement would guarantee that an ideologue on either side of the political spectrum would not make it onto the court. That’s a protection for the court as an institution. Removing the 60-vote threshold practically guarantees that a president with a Senate of his own party will swing for the fences with the most extreme ideologue he can get away with. It’s a recipe for further polarization and cutthroat politics.
Several aspects of the poll jump out.
First, the gender gap is enormous. Men favor a Democratic House 50 percent to 42 percent, while an even greater number of women favor a Democratic House, 58 percent to 33 percent. Likewise, by a 54 percent to 40 percent margin, women want the Senate to put off any confirmation vote before the midterm elections. In contrast, men want to proceed before the election by the same percentages. If women turn out in droves in November, the GOP majorities are history.
Second, impeachment remains unpopular (56 percent against to 38 percent for), confirming the decision by most Democrats to, at least for now, disregard that option. (And they should, unless and until there is a large bipartisan majority in favor of it.)
Third, most Americans know Trump is wrong on trade — yes, a trade war will ensue (52 percent to 38 percent) and yes, it’ll be bad for the economy (73 percent to 17 percent). Again, Democrats should listen to the voters and run on cooling trade tensions that Trump has inflamed.
Finally, as noted above, there is strong evidence that voters are not interested in throwing abortion politics back to the states. It is not clear why that is the case, but Democrats shouldn’t be shy about their position: They think that reversing Roe v. Wade would create 50 (plus the District of Columbia) bitter political wars in which some sizable portion of women — especially poor women — will face punishment (or perhaps their doctors), and will potentially have no available abortion provider within hundreds of miles.