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Abortion stance could play a big role in who wins midterm elections, survey says

The new Wason Center survey shows Democrats have a slight edge over Republicans when it comes to Virginian voters.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Although midterm elections are usually a reflection of how the president is doing, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade may play a bigger role with voters, according to the Wason Center’s research director.

Officials released their new Wason Center survey Wednesday morning.

Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said the survey shows many voters are concerned about the state of the economy and unimpressed with President Joe Biden’s performance. She said usually, this wouldn’t be good news for the Democratic Party.

“Despite those rough numbers for Biden, you look at the generic ballot question. We asked these Virginia registered voters which party would they support in their district for the upcoming congressional election -- 46% are saying the Democratic Party, 40% are saying the Republican Party,” Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said.

“Clearly this election isn’t just about the president and the economy. It’s also clearly about the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which has dramatically shaped up this race,” she continued.

Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said the survey shows most voters opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and prefer abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

"Thirty-six percent say they either support or strongly support overturning Roe v Wade," Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said. "Fifty-eight percent say they oppose or strongly oppose.”

The survey shows 67% of voters prefer abortion to be legal in most/all cases, but a "narrow majority" of 51% support/strongly support an abortion ban at 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. 

The poll also shows independent voters are split when it comes to the upcoming midterms: 39% favor the Democratic Party, while 35% favor the Republican Party.

“It really points to the chaotic nature of this election," Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said. "Traditionally elections, especially midterms, tend to focus on the president and the state of the economy. If you were to only look at those numbers, things would not be looking good for the Democratic Party, but these results and the polls suggest that Democrats are faring semi-well on a generic ballot.”

And with all eyes on the race in Virginia’s 2nd District between two-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria and Republican challenger State Sen. Jen Kiggans, Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said there is still "uncertainty."

“Virginia-2, this is a district that leans Republican with the new lines being drawn. So, is it enough? Is a slight edge for Democrats in this state enough for that district? Maybe not," Dr. Bromley-Trujillo said. “It really depends on whether this election ends up being about Biden and the economy, or it ends up being about abortion or other issues that are central to specific districts.

The top issues for Republicans this year according to the Wason survey are the economy, immigration and crime. For Democrats, it’s climate change, racial inequality and abortion.

Other findings also examined Gov. Glenn Youngkin's performance.

Next month marks one year since Youngkin took office. The poll shows 50% of Virginian voters approve of the job he’s doing.

Virginia voters are split on the future of the Commonwealth, according to the Wason Center: 42% of people say it's heading in the right direction, while 40% say it's heading in the wrong direction. 

Virginians are more "pessimistic" about the direction of the country: 22% say it's going in the right direction, while 65% say it's going in the wrong direction. When it comes to Biden's performance, 39% approve, while 56% disapprove.

But Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provisions related to healthcare and the environment are striking the right chord with Virginia voters. The survey shows support ranges from 58% to 82%. A majority of people, 55%, oppose increased funding to the IRS.

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