Saturday, May 7, 2022

Pennsylvania's Primary: Stakes Higher Because of Roe v. Wade


Much has been made of the leaked opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. The SCOTUS (or more accurately SCROTUS) decision will be made official in late June. If it hadn't been leaked, demonstrations, like the one above, would be erupting in June instead of now.

If this decision remains in June, the battle over abortion rights moves to the states making the upcoming elections even more critical. Pennsylvania's senate race was already receiving national attention with Pat Toomey retiring and celebrities like Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman running to replace him. The battle over state offices (Governor, Senate, and House) should become more heated as well. 

This week, Franklin and Marshall College published a poll showing Dr. Oz with a 2% lead over David McCormick in the Republican primary for Senate. This difference is within the margin of error of 6.9% and and 39% of GOP voters are still undecided. This poll was conducted before the SCOTUS opinion was leaked. Only 4% of voters listed "Women's Rights: Pro-life/Pro-choice" as the most important issue for which candidate they will support in the GOP primary. Donald Trump's endorsement of J.D, Vance in the Ohio GOP Senate primary helped propel him to victory this week.

John Fetterman has a big lead in the same poll on the Democratic side with 53% of the vote over Conor Lamb with 14%. Among the Democrats, only 2% of the voters listed "Women's Rights: Pro-life/Pro-choice" as their important issue. I have a feeling these percentages have increased on both sides since the SCOTUS leak.

Among the GOP, Trump still has 70% of respondents saying that they have strongly of somewhat favorable views of him. On this metric, Dr. Oz has 29% favorability and McCormick has 31%. Likewise, Biden has 80% favorability ratings on the Democratic side. Fetterman has 77%, Conor Lamb has 46%, and Gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro (running unopposed) has 62%.

Of all survey respondents, 31% said that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 54% said it should be legal under certain circumstances, and 14% said it should be illegal in all circumstances. Since June 2009, there was a 13% increase in those who said it should be legal in all circumstances while, over the same period, there was an 8% decrease in those who wanted it illegal in all circumstances. The generic ballot for US/state house races shows 43% favoring the GOP, 39% favoring Democrats and 18% undecided.

It remains to be seen how the SCOTUS decision will affect the race. There are infinite possibilities for what could happen between now and November. Certainly passions will be higher on both sides. Dr. Oz's campaign manager happens to be my cousin, Casey Contres.

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