Analysis: Pa. among top 7 abortion rights battlegrounds in 2022 | Tuesday Morning Coffee
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Pennsylvania is one of seven states that is most likely to see political tensions rise over abortion rights this fall if the U.S. Supreme Court, as is expected, moves to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new analysis.
With control of the Governor’s Mansion and one highly coveted U.S. Senate seat up for grabs, the threat of abortion returning to the states could be enough to energize Democratic voters and get them to the polls in a year that’s usually unfriendly to the party in power, veteran political analyst Lou Jacobson writes in a new column for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the politics newsletter helmed by University of Virginia political sage Larry Sabato.
Those other states on the bubble, in addition to Pennsylvania, are: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, Jacobson wrote.
For the last seven years, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, of Pennsylvania, has been a one-man bulwark against Republican attacks on abortion access, vetoing every bill that’s crossed his desk.
With Wolf leaving office next January after serving the constitutional maximum of two, four-year terms, Democrats are pinning their hopes on Attorney General Josh Shapiro, effectively the lone Democrat in the 2022 primary race, who has vowed to be a similar brick wall.
It’s not yet clear which candidate will emerge from the packed Republican primary field. But one candidate, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, has made it clear he’d move to restrict abortion rights if he’s elected. And, abetted by a Republican-controlled Legislature, it’s clear that he (or any other GOP hopeful) likely could do just that.
Those are high-stakes, to be sure. But it’s still “unclear whether abortion will become a big enough motivator for Democrats to overcome the historical pattern of unfavorable midterms for the party controlling the White House, particularly if concern about the coronavirus pandemic and inflation remains high,” Jacobson wrote.
A view of the front portico of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
Looking at polling data, public support for abortion rights among Pennsylvania voters remains strong.
Pennsylvania is one of three of those seven battleground states (Michigan and Wisconsin are the other two) where support for legal abortion in “most or all cases” has consistently run between 51% to 54%, Jacobson writes, pointing to polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center.
That lack of public support hasn’t proven an impediment for Republicans, who, as noted above, have launched broadside after broadside against abortion rights during the Wolf era.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro (Source: AG Josh Shapiro Flickr).
Looking at the issue from a sheerly political point of view, Democrats are headed into the 2022 cycle with some political disadvantages, notably President Joe Biden’s sagging approval ratings and skyrocketing inflation.
And those frustrations could well “overwhelm any gains Democrats get from voters being energized by an overturning of Roe” (which still remains hypothetical — at least for now), Jacobson wrote.
Jacobson’s conclusion was buttressed by veteran Muhlenberg College pollster and political analyst Chris Borick, who said he’s “skeptical that the boost [Democrats] would get would offset the cyclical advantages that the GOP carries into the midterms here.”
So what’s the silver lining for Democrats here? Here’s a hint — it runs through Bucks County.
“Perhaps the most promising avenue for Democratic gains is that abortion politics could energize the same types of voters that Democrats have increasingly been winning: suburbanites, including women, who a decade or two ago might have voted Republican,” Jacobson wrote.
Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)
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What Goes On
We’re back to committee business in the state House and Senate today.
9:30 a.m., 140 Main Capitol: House Education Committee
10 a.m., Hearing Room 1 North Office Building: Senate Appropriataions Committee
11 a.m., 8E-B East Wing: Senate Education Committee
2:30 p.m., Hearing Room 1, North Office Building: Senate Appropriations and Education committees
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
5 p.m.: Reception for Sen. Mike Regan
6:30 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Napoleon Nelson
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a bipartisan $3,000 today.
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Best wishes go out this morning to reader Harvey Freedenberg, of Dauphin County, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day, sir.
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Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
Arizona’s Lawson Crouse notched his first NHL hat trick as the Coyotes defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 on Monday night, NHL.com reports.
And now you’re up to date.
Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by John L. Micek