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Republicans under pressure as anti-abortion activists call for national ban

Republicans under pressure as anti-abortion activists call for national ban

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But when Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina laid out this position in the form of a federal ban before the midterm elections, the proposal drew backlash from some Republicans, who viewed it and its timing as politically reckless.

Still, in the final weeks of the midterm elections, many Republicans embraced a core message: a 15-week limit with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. They tried to get Democrats to set their own gestational age limits — and falsely accused them of supporting “abortion until birth” if they refused.

Robert Blizzard, a veteran Republican pollster, noted that several Republican candidates who generally opposed abortion rights won major state races in places including Florida, Georgia and Iowa. But elsewhere, for candidates without clearly defined personal brands, he said, “voters can use the abortion issue as a test of how compassionate they are and how pragmatic they are in solving problems and getting things done.”

“There were some candidates that we ran, especially in state races, that just could never overcome the favorability issue” of independent voters, he added.

Mr. Blizzard emphasized that it is impossible to know what issues will motivate voters in the 2024 general election. But there is no doubt, he said, that Democrats will continue to use the abortion issue against Republicans — and that in the midterms, they they often did so effectively.

“Every metric you would look at shows that this is energizing the left and the Democratic base, which certainly has happened,” he said. “In some cases where we’ve been fighting on other issues — whether it’s the economy, inflation, the border, whatever else was going on in a particular state or district — we’ve done, I think, well. But in places where we failed to change the narrative of race, we didn’t do well.”

“In terms of progress,” he continued, describing the political uncertainty surrounding the issue, “I don’t think anybody has a really solid answer for it.”

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