June 29, 2022

QUESTION ASKED: Is Dobbs an Electoral Dud?

A majority of voters say the Court’s decisions will not “personally impact” their lives, which is roughly unchanged from May. That helps explain why progressives who insist that this is the moment to “discipline” the Court over its reckless jurisprudence haven’t found their audience. Only 38 percent of respondents back “expanding the Supreme Court” to blunt the influence of its conservative justices—results that are also “largely unchanged from September 2021.”

Meanwhile, Democrats were treated yesterday to the first real-world test of whether the Supreme Court’s decision had enlivened their previously unenthusiastic voting base. The results were ambiguous.

Voters turned out to cast their ballots in primary races in Illinois, New York, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah on Tuesday and, as of that evening, turnout “appeared to be typically sluggish” according to the New York Times. All the caveats apply: These states all have early-voting provisions, so many votes had already been cast by primary day, and there were fewer contested primaries on the Democratic side than the GOP’s. That said, however, “unaffiliated voters had returned more early ballots in Republican primaries than Democratic ones, a reversal from 2020 and 2018, election officials said.”

We cannot yet say that Dobbs won’t deliver Democrats from a drubbing at the polls in November. But there’s little indication of that yet. In fact, from what we have seen so far, the Court’s ruling might even be an electoral non-event. If future polls and primary results subsequently confirm that impression—if the overturning of Roe cannot salvage Democratic fortunes—this cake is well and truly baked.

Related: Guess Who Leads in the Generic Ballot After the Dobbs Decision?

Don’t get cocky.

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