What’s Up With The 17% Of Voters Who Blame Biden For The Fall Of Roe v. Wade?

Nearly 20% of voters blame President Joe Biden for the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe v. Wade in 2022, according to a poll released Mondayeven though former President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken credit for overturning Roe, given that he appointed three conservative Supreme Court justices who were central to the decision.

The survey, conducted by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer, found that 17% of registered voters in six swing states believe Biden has “a lot of responsibility” or “some responsibility” for ending the constitutional right to abortion. Just over 55% of respondents said Trump has “some responsibility” or “a lot of responsibility” for overturning Roe.

Abortion has been a weak spot for Trump, who up until recently has dodged questions on the issue. Since Roe fell and nearly 20 states enacted abortion bans or restrictions, abortion has become a powerful campaign weapon for Democrats and a vulnerability for Republicans.

The 17% figure yielded in the Times/Siena/Inquirer poll doesn’t reflect what Mini Timmaraju, president of Reproductive Freedom for All, is hearing on the ground while canvassing for abortion rights in some of these states.

“The data and evidence, particularly in Trump’s own words, is extremely compelling... and we’ve just gotta get more folks paying attention,” she said. “That doesn’t tend to happen until later in the summer, early into the fall.”

The finding is a stark contrast to some of the other numbers from the poll. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said abortion should be “always legal,” and 49% said Biden would do a better job on abortion than Trump. Another recent survey from Navigator, a polling group focused on progressive issues, found that the public is growing more aware of Trump’s anti-abortion record. The more voters hear from Trump, the more likely they are to believe he will sign a national abortion ban if elected.

Christina Reynolds, senior vice president of communications at EMILY’s List, wasn’t too worried about the 17%, reasoning that it’s a small number and the other findings about abortion access are generally in line with what the abortion rights group has heard from pro-choice voters.

“The idea that some percentage blames Biden, it may be that that’s a percentage that’s just gonna blame Biden for anything,” Reynolds said. “It may be that that’s a group of people who just know that it happened while Biden was president and haven’t focused on that specific issue very much.”

The 17% of respondents consisted largely of young voters who did not vote in the last election. Abortion is “incredibly salient” to young voters and young voters of color, said Timmaraju, who sees this as an opportunity for the Biden campaign.

“We knew we were going to have to keep reminding voters who was responsible for the crisis and who can fix it,” she said. “Trump’s vote is locked in, Biden has a lot of opportunity. We’ve known all along, as advocacy groups that have endorsed Biden and [Vice President Kamala] Harris, we have a lot of work to do to make sure voters understand not only what the Biden-Harris record is, but what they’re going to do when we return them to the White House.”

Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster, agreed that many voters are not dialed in to the election yet.

”The reality is that many voters are not paying close attention to the election and have not started making up their minds ― a dynamic also reflected in today’s poll,” Garin said in a statement shared via a Biden spokesperson. “These voters will decide this election and only the Biden campaign is doing the work to win them over.” He added that broad conclusions about the presidential race should not be drawn based on the results of just one poll.

The poll shows that Trump is leading in five of the six battleground states surveyed. The decrease in support for Biden is among young voters and voters of color who are frustrated with how the president has handled the economy and the Israel-Hamas war.

You’ll see us out there in the press... talking about this and raising this issue,” Reynolds said, “and by election day voters won’t be confused about who’s to blame.”