The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is boosting voter turnout in New Jersey, but maybe not in the way you’d expect.
That’s according to the latest Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Poll, which found the fact that New Jersey residents generally support abortion rights doesn’t mean that those will change voting behaviors.
The FDU Poll found 51% of New Jersey residents “unconditionally support” a woman’s right to have an abortion, compared to 10% who said an abortion should never be legal. Thirty-seven percent said they believed abortion should be allowed under certain circumstances.
“New Jersey is much more pro-choice than the country as a whole,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at FDU, and the Executive Director of the Poll. “If Democrats are going to talk about abortion anywhere, they should be talking about it.”
That said, FDU conducted an embedded experiment in the poll to randomly ask about abortion either before or after being asked about whether and how they would vote in the upcoming elections.
Overall, respondents who were asked about abortion first were slightly more likely to say that they were “certain or almost certain” to vote in the upcoming elections when compared to respondents who were asked only after answering questions about the election.
“The big question in this election has been about whether abortion is going to mobilize people who otherwise don’t turn up in midterms,” said Cassino. “In New Jersey, the answer is yes, even if the effect isn’t as big as Democrats might have been hoping for.”
On the Republican side, asking about abortion reduced the likelihood a respondent would vote among those who say abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances.
That said, FDU noted 37% of New Jersey residents who say they’re planning to vote for Republican candidates, compared to 48% who say they are inclined to vote Democrat. When asked about abortion, only those who say it should be legal under certain circumstances expressed a more likely chance of voting Democrat.
“Since the eighties, abortion has been very closely tied to people’s partisan views,” said Cassino. “There just aren’t a lot of Democrats or Republicans left who are at odds with how their party views abortion rights, so it makes sense that it’s not changing many votes.”
Other Studies Back FDU Poll
In general, the FDU poll was in alignment with other recent New Jersey-based polls, with a recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll finding 68% of New Jerseyans disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Notably, public trust in the Supreme Court was diminished. Twenty-six percent said they don’t have much trust in the Supreme Court, with 35% saying they had no trust at all in the judicial branch.
Meanwhile, a Stockton Poll found half of voters reported a candidate’s views on abortion would impact their vote greatly, and 25% said it would impact their choice somewhat. That said, 63% of women said abortion would greatly affect their vote, and were aligned with the Democratic position on abortion (56%).