Laura Wilson is a mother of three who lives in the sprawling northern suburbs of Phoenix, a hotly contested electoral area of Arizona that could decide which party controls the US Senate after legislative elections in November.
Wilson, 61, is pro-choice, voted for Democratic President Joe Biden and knew all about last week’s news that the US Supreme Court. landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that gives women the right to abortion.
However, she is undecided about who she will vote for this November and abortion rights are not a priority for her.
“It’s the economy and the jobs,” Wilson said. She said she was disappointed in Biden due to high inflation and “too many homeless people on the streets.”
Wilson was one of 21 women interviewed by the Reuters news agency in the northern suburbs of Phoenix after news of the Supreme Court’s draft ruling broke. The area will likely be key for Democrats. Senator Mark Kellyefforts to hold on to your seat. Most of the women said that inflation, not abortion, was the issue that drove them.
Significantly, those interviewed were from a key demographic, suburban mothers, who are highly sought after by Democrats and Republicans in elections.
The interviews, while not a large sample, provide a sobering reminder to Democrats that inflation, which has reached 40 year highs – remains the most pressing issue for most Americans, who are grappling with rising food and fuel costs and have given Biden low marks in opinion polls for his economic policies.
`Important, big problem`
Democrats, facing stiff headwinds to maintain their slim majority in the US Congress, have seized the bomb leak of the project of majority opinion of the highest court of the country that says that the states must decide the access to abortion.
Democrats said they hoped it would help mobilize Democratic voters, especially women, in an election year in which the party has struggled to counter enthusiasm from Republicans, who are seen as winning at least the House of Representatives. Representatives and possibly the Senate.
Arizona is one of a handful of November Senate races that will decide control of the now Democratic-controlled upper house. He is one of more than 20 Republican-led states where there would be an almost immediate ban on many abortions if the Supreme Court decides to overturn the Roe decision. A ruling is expected in June.
María Álvarez, 46, a mother and real estate agent, said she is in favor of abortion, but “I don’t really have a strong opinion on it.” She wants politicians who take care of pocket money. She had just finished a grocery store that cost her $400, double what she used to pay a year ago.
Of the 21 women interviewed by Reuters, five said they were anti-abortion and Republican, while 16 said they were pro-choice. Only two of the 16 said the issue was the top priority for them when they voted in November, while half of the 16 were undecided about who to vote for in the Senate race due to concerns about the economy. The other half said they would probably vote Democrat.
All of the women live in the northern suburbs of Phoenix, a densely populated part of Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona. Those suburbs had leaned Republican, but in recent election cycles they have become more evenly divided and are a target for both sides.
Christy Johnson, 51, described herself as an independent voter. She voted for former Republican President Donald Trump in 2020, but voted for the Democrats. Abortion rights are important to her, but inflation is a “very important problem” for her, along with climate change.
Sherica Bailey, 33, burst into tears speaking about her two miscarriages. She is now adamantly opposed to abortion and says she will vote Republican and any candidate who is against abortion.
“I support overturning Roe v Wade. I had abortions during a very dark time in my life. I was naive and stupid,” she said.
Polls show that most Americans support a woman’s right to an abortion. About 70 percent believe abortion should be legal in most cases, according to polls.
The parties mobilize
Democrats and Republicans are already mobilizing around the issue, sending out fundraising emails and mailers, knocking on doors and making announcements.
Last week, the Arizona Democratic Party held a press conference outside the Arizona State Capitol, with a focus on Kelly’s re-election bid and the threat to abortion rights from his Republican rivals.
“This fall it is absolutely critical that we elect pro-choice candidates,” said Rebecca Rios, the top Democrat in the Arizona Senate.
Still, a Kelly campaign spokesman appeared to acknowledge in a statement to Reuters that inflation remains the elephant in the room for most voters.
“Arizonaans know they can count on Kelly to continue her work to protect access to abortion, lower costs for working families and get our economy back on track, at the same time,” spokeswoman Sarah Guggenheimer said.
A Republican challenger, Blake Masters, told Reuters: “Progressive activists hoped they could spark some abortion outrage, but that backfired.”
Stu Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst, said it was not clear the abortion issue would be a game changer for Democrats this November.
“The biggest problem is still inflation and the economy,” he said.