Reproductive rights reshape voter alliances for 2024 elections

The state Supreme Court decision in Florida ruled in favor of a 6-week abortion ban on Apr. 2. Photo by: Faith Summerville

OSWEGO, N.Y — As the nation grapples with debates over access to abortion, a growing number of voters are aligning themselves with political parties based on their stances on these reproductive matters.

“For people that are paying attention to politics, it’s going to have a real impact on how they vote,” said Allison Rank, associate professor of political science at SUNY Oswego. “The question is, can President [Joe] Biden make that case [of abortion rights] when lots of people don’t pay very much attention and it’s nowhere near as clear that he can actually do something about it.”

One of the main goals of Biden’s 2024 platform as a presidential candidate is restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade for all women across the country, according to a White House fact sheet.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump says abortion restrictions should be left to the states.

“I’m anticipating higher turnout in November because of this issue, especially since both presidential candidates are very far apart on it,” said Sam Weinberg, co-founder and executive director of Path to Progress, a youth-led progressive media organization. “Joe Biden is unabashedly pro-choice and Donald Trump is unabashedly anti-choice.”

Kyle Camille, president of the College Republicans at SUNY Oswego, also thinks abortion rights will be a major element of the 2024 presidential election after seeing the red wave not come to fruition for the 2022 midterms.

“There are so many other issues that Americans are facing nowadays that I don’t know if that’s the only case that’s going to sway an entire election,” Camille said.

JR Walsh, adjunct instructor for English and creative writing at SUNY Oswego, says it would not surprise him if the plan for voter turnout may be lower at this time, before vamping up in November.

“I do think that the louder we start to see these issues as we approach Election Day, it’s going to make a difference,” Walsh said.

According to Tisch College’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 19% of young voters have selected “expanding access to abortion” as their top priority.

“Particularly among a lot of younger voters, this is one of those places where the kind of fatalism is really going to be a problem,” Rank said. “The thought that both parties are basically the same can lead to issues down the line.”

Sixty-eight percent of youth, ages 18-29, disapprove of Roe v. Wade being overturned in 2022 and 78% believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a national CBS survey.

“I think that it’s hard to say this far out exactly what impact it will have, but we have seen in previous elections since Roe was overturned that voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice and polling reflects that.” Weinberg said. 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), eight in 10 Republicans support access for women seeking abortions due to pregnancy-related complications, like miscarriages, while 43% of them say abortion should be illegal in all instances.

KFF polls also found that this issue resonates with 19% of women voters who plan to vote for Biden, more than one in four Black women voters and 19% of women who live in states where abortion is banned.

“The key demographic that we are talking about is women and women tend to be overwhelmingly pro-choice and also lean towards Democrats and progressives,” Weinberg said. “This is an issue that is so galvanizing that we will probably see white, suburban women… viewed as swing voters,” Weinberg said.

Abortion played a significant role in shaping outcomes of races in the 2022 midterms, with both Republicans and Democrats experiencing mixed results depending on the state and district. 

In some cases, Republican candidates with anti-abortion stances were able to secure victories, such as in the governor’s races in Georgia and Florida, while Democrats in heavily Democratic New York suffered significant losses. 

However, red-leaning states where Democrats heavily emphasized abortion access, the issue shifted some outcomes in their favor. The shift marked a significant change from the party’s previous struggles in this area.

“I think in Florida it’s likely that we will see the state go for Trump, but also enshrine abortion rights into their constitution,” Weinberg said. “That means there are going to be several people who are pro-choice but voting for an anti-choice candidate.”

Walsh compares the presidential candidates platforms to the structure of an argumentative essay. “My guess is that the strategy from a messaging standpoint is going to be very pathos heavy to appeal to people’s belief systems.”