Washington Watch: Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would boost Democratic turnout for midterm elections, analysts say

United States

Political analysts are reacting to the news that the Supreme Court looks poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying this November’s midterm elections are getting shaken up by the development.

Republicans had been widely expected to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the elections, and the GOP had been getting good odds for taking back the U.S. Senate, too.

But the expectations now are that Democrats could fare better than had been anticipated, as their base appears set to be energized if the high court in fact overrules the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

“The imminent threat to Roe v. Wade is likely to galvanize young voters and suburban women, in particular,” said Melissa K. Miller, a professor of political science at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, in an email.

“In close races, a surge in their turnout and support for Democrats could make a difference.”

Betting market PredictIt on Wednesday is giving an 86% chance that Republicans take back the House, down from a high of 91% on Saturday, along with 73% odds for seizing control of the Senate, down from a high of 79% on Saturday.

Republicans “still have the edge going into November thanks to redistricting and the (‘til now) flagging enthusiasm for the Biden administration among independents and even some Democrats,” Miller said.

In a similar vein, BTIG’s Isaac Boltansky said the Roe news is a “modest positive for Democrats” in the midterms, but it’s still likely that control of the House will flip this fall to the GOP. He is BTIG’s director of policy research.

See: Leaked draft decision shows Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, Politico reports

Miller emphasized that the Supreme Court has not yet handed down its decision, but if it does then a number of states are likely to immediately ban abortion within their borders.

“This means that the tangible effects of the Supreme Court’s decision will likely be felt immediately in a whole host of states. Things are going to get real, real fast,” she said. It’ll be important to track what then happens in “close House and Senate races in terms of fundraising, messaging, and organizing.”

Democrats have been quick to issue statements following the news, which came late Monday.

“If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” President Joe Biden said.

“And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

Some Democratic lawmakers on Monday night called for the codification of the right to abortion into federal law, though such pushes have not succeeded, with an effort in February getting 48 votes in the Senate.

“Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who usually votes with Democrats. “And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.

Related: Schumer says he’ll hold vote on codifying the right to an abortion

Among the reactions from Republicans, Mehmet Oz — the heart surgeon and former TV host running in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary — offered support for the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.

“The Court is right. Roe was wrongly decided,” Oz said in a statement. “Abortion laws should be left up to the American people and their elected representatives. I look forward to supporting pro-life legislation that saves innocent lives in the U.S. Senate.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized how the court’s draft opinion was made public.

“Somebody — likely somebody inside the court itself — leaked a confidential internal draft to the press almost certainly in an effort to stir up an inappropriate pressure campaign to sway an outcome,” the Kentucky Republican said in a floor speech. “The radical left immediately rallied around the toxic stunt.”

McConnell also said: “Liberals want to rip the blindfold off Lady Justice. They want to override impartiality with intimidation.”

U.S. stocks SPX, +0.48% DJIA, +0.20% closed higher Tuesday, a day before the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by a half-point.

Now read: ‘Severe struggle’ over federal debt limit and moves to impeach Biden: What could happen in a Republican Congress