Supreme Court overturning abortion could mobilize young voters for 2022 midterm elections – NBCNEWS

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Tthe US Supreme Court decides to turn back the constitutional right to abortion has far-reaching personal and political implications and can help determine the midterm elections in Nov 2022.

This influence extends to the participation of young people in elections. People aged 18 to 29 have historically less likely to vote than older adults. But in recent years, major national controversies have prompted them to organize and vote, such as school shootings and police brutality against black people.

Like a researcher with more than 20 years of experience tracking youth voting and examining youth political views and engagement, I believe the abortion rights struggle that is now taking place in states has strong potential to motivate and mobilize young voters on both sides of the issue – and that their participation could be decisive in races across the country.

Young people support abortion rights

About 62 percent of Americans support that abortion is legal in all or most cases, according to Pew Research surveys from July 2022. But that view is even more widely held among people ages 18 to 29 — 70 percent of people in that age group support legal abortion.

Other recent polls put youth support for abortion even higher — a CBS/YouGov poll conducted in June 2022, shortly after the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, found that 78 percent of young people are in favor of legal abortion.

Young people are also the most likely age group to disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. Sixty-nine percent of young people disapprove of the verdictcompared with 60 percent of adults ages 30 to 49 and half of Americans over 49.

Women and people of color in all age groups — especially black and Asian Americans — are also more likely than men and whites to disapprove of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

This is remarkable because especially young women and young women of color have taken the lead in social and electoral participation in recent years. Young women voted higher than young men in 2020. Young women of color were more likely to talk politics with their peers, attend demonstrations, and get others to vote than young white women.

Nearly half of young women said they supported or actively participated in the reproductive rights movement. according to my 2018 survey of people aged 18 to 24. Women of color were more likely to be involved in the reproductive rights movement than young white women, our study found.

Many young people want action against abortion

For some young people, political engagement goes beyond abortion, because a Harvard poll in the spring of 2022 found that about half of young people think the country is on the wrong track.

And 41 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds polled in another poll say the Dobbs decision making them more likely to vote during the midterms. In the Pew Research survey mentioned abovemore than two-thirds of under 30s said they were at least somewhat disapproving of the court decision.

Other studies suggest that specific policies and laws to protect access to abortion are top priorities for young voters.

When young people want action in issues that interest them, such as abortion, they may feel motivated to pressure political leaders. Their disappointment or disillusionment with certain politicians does not necessarily mean that they are disillusioned with their own political power. On the other hand, those who oppose abortion rights can now feel positive about politics: 19% of young people in the CBS/YouGov survey said they felt “happy” about the recent decision.

In 2018, my survey of young people before that year’s midterm elections found that feeling more disappointed or cynical about politics actually led to a higher, not lower, chance to vote.

According to my estimates, the percentage of young people who voted has more than doubled from the 2014 midterm elections to the 2018 midterm elections – rising from 13% to 28%. My research group’s analyzes suggest several reasons for this jump, including the voter registration of many groups that started much earlier in the year and the youth-led activism after the school shooting in Parkland.

In 2020, a similar dynamic played out nationwide after the murder of George Floyd, who was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis. In a pre-election CIRCLE poll, young people called racism the second biggest problem that would affect their vote for the presidency, just after the environment and climate change. About 50 percent of young people voted in the 2020 elections, compared to 39 percent of young people who did that in 2016.

Young people can influence elections in key states

The vote of the youth can decisively determine the election results at every level. In 2020, for example, young people cast hundreds of thousands of votes in key battlefield states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia, helping President Joe Biden win all three states and Democratic senators in Arizona and Georgia.

As states decide their own abortion laws, the ballots of young voters in governmental and other state and local races could be especially critical in places like Pennsylvania and Georgiawhere new abortion restrictions are possible, depending on the election results.

The potential for impact is there — not just for the majority of youth who support abortion, but also the sizable minority who oppose it — 32 percent of people aged 18 to 29 in the CBS/YouGov survey said they approve the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion.

Nevada, Maryland and Maine are among the top 10 states where young people can decide governor races, according to my research. All three states have established abortion protections, which could motivate young people to vote for candidates who share their stance on abortion, whether for or against abortion rights.

Abby Kiesadeputy director at CIRCLE, Tufts University. CIRCLE team members Ruby Belle Booth, Megan Lam and Alberto Medina contributed to this analysis. This article was republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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