POLITICO-Harvard poll: Gun policy is top voter concern, along with abortion, inflation and economy

The margin of error for the poll is 2.5 percentage points.

The poll results come as candidates pitch after Labor Day, looking for issues that will motivate voters in an election that is becoming tighter than expected. The Democrats will erase the Republican dominance for controlling the Senate, and the Republican Party may have a majority in the House.

Gun policy taking precedence over abortion runs counter to conventional wisdom that overturns the Supreme Court’s June ruling. Law vs Wade And allowing a near-ban on abortion in nearly half the country is the Democrats’ best move of the cycle to counter the high gas and food prices against the Republicans as a symbol of the economy not getting off the ground. It becomes a rallying cry. Polling confirms that abortion is important, but it also shows it’s not the only way Democrats have to rally support.

One possible explanation for the consequences of seeing issues such as criminal justice reform and climate change at the bottom of the list is when respondents were asked to describe the determining factors they plan to vote for in the next election. That is, it is not necessarily an important issue. Robert Blendon, emeritus professor of public health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, who specializes in health policy and political analysis, tells them long-term.

“We expected a huge increase in abortions, but the gun incident was a complete shock,” he said. “I think what we have is people responding to the most prominent short-term concerns. became.”

President Joe Biden put gun safety at the center of his recent stumps speech, safer community lawspecifically focusing on children being common victims of gun violence.

“Think of the devastation that took place,” Biden said in Pennsylvania. Hmm.”

Brendon said shootings in schools and public places are likely behind voter reaction.

“It changes the way people think,” he said. “school [shootings] scare people. Not only my parents, but also my grandparents. The thing is that children can buy these weapons and there is nothing you can do about it. “

The immediacy of the threat and a sense of helplessness make the problem akin to inflation for many, Brendon said.

“It’s not an abstract concept,” he said.

Overall, the survey is good news for Democrats, Brendon said. That’s because concerns fueling Republican-leaning voters, such as gas prices and inflation, are likely to wane in the coming months, and issues such as abortion and gun policy won’t be resolved in November.

“If inflation eases and gas prices ease, that will really help the Democrats,” he said.

Health care remains a top priority for many voters, with more than a third saying it was “very important” on their November agenda. And the overwhelming majority of them are concerned with health care and the cost of health care, as opposed to other issues such as access to health care and uninsured rates.

Health care costs and prescription drug prices can have a huge impact during periods of high inflation, when Americans face sticker shock over a range of items and become cost sensitive.

Still, abortion may prove to be particularly prominent in some close races. . In 2020, it was tied for 14th out of 19 issues. This is a much bigger shift in attitude than gun control, which moved from 7th place in 2020 to his 3rd place in 2022.

Opinion polls also show a large gender gap when it comes to abortion. More than half of women say how they vote is very important compared to her 36% of men.

And in some battleground states, women significantly outnumber men in new registrations. For example, in Wisconsin, women outnumber men by 15.6% since then. egg According to Democratic voter-data firm TargetSmart, it fell. In Michigan, women outnumber men by 8.1%, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by 18%.

These numbers confirm one of the key takeaways from the polls: voter turnout. “If Republican voter turnout is high, these issues [inflation and the economy] It will rule,” said Brendon. “If you’re a Democrat and want to get voter turnout, talk about abortion, guns and health care.”

About two-thirds of voters who said abortion was “very important” said the survey, which took place between August 5 and August 22, said Congress would enact federal legislation to protect abortion rights. We found that 20% think it should be left to Congress. States and 15% supported a nationwide ban. In particular, 62% of Republicans who said abortion was a “very important” issue to them said that abortions should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, indicating that these Republicans 50% believe it should be allowed if there is evidence of a serious birth. defect.

Indiana is so far the only state to pass new abortion restrictions since. egg Immunity for falling, rape and incest was granted. South Carolina was the second state to pass a new anti-abortion law, and a House committee introduced the bill after voting to remove the incest and rape exceptions, but legislative observers said it was unlikely to pass without exception.

Far down the list of “very important” issues were Covid-19 (16%) and the war in Ukraine (9%). This makes sense to Blendon, who he suggested these issues are more abstract to most people. Base your future votes on issues that affect your life today.

“Americans are not dying [in Ukraine],” he said. “People are not keen to support it.”

Tucker Doherty contributed to this report.

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