SPOTLIGHT

Hobby Lobby’s Impact On The Senate Landscape

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Participants gives a standing ovation after Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards addressed the 20th annual Women's Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) October 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The DNC held the forum to discuss women's roles in leadership. First lady Michelle Obama will address the forum in the afternoon.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
June 30, 2014, 7:44 a.m.

What’s bad for abor­tion rights-sup­port­ing Demo­crats leg­ally could be be­ne­fi­cial to them polit­ic­ally. At least that’s the think­ing among Demo­crat­ic strategists after the Su­preme Court ruled today that closely-held cor­por­a­tions can’t be forced to provide con­tra­cep­tion to their em­ploy­ees. A key part of the Demo­crats’ Sen­ate strategy is to find ways to mo­bil­ize single wo­men, one of their most re­li­ably sup­port­ive con­stitu­en­cies, to the polls.

— A new na­tion­al sur­vey, con­duc­ted by Green­berg Quin­lan Ros­ner, helps ex­plain the Demo­crat­ic game plan. Only 54 per­cent of un­mar­ried wo­men who are likely to vote said they plan to sup­port the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the midterm. That’s lower than in the GOP wave of 2010 (60 per­cent), and sig­ni­fic­antly down from the last elec­tion (67 per­cent). Few­er than three-quar­ters of those who voted in 2012 are “al­most cer­tain” to do so again — a much lower pro­por­tion com­pared to GOP base voters.

— Poll­ster Stan Green­berg found that pop­u­list mes­saging tar­geted to the middle class, fo­cused on equal pay for wo­men, af­ford­able col­lege and child care, and rais­ing the min­im­um wage, has the most po­ten­tial to en­gage these voters. After test­ing those fe­male-cent­ric ar­gu­ments, Demo­crats gained sev­en points on the gen­er­ic bal­lot.

— Two Sen­ate races where the strategy will be on dis­play: Col­or­ado and North Car­o­lina. Sen. Mark Ud­all has ag­gress­ively at­tacked Rep. Cory Gard­ner‘s past po­s­i­tion on the state’s “per­son­hood” amend­ment, rais­ing the specter of re­stric­ted abor­tion rights if Re­pub­lic­ans win. In 2010, the state’s Sen­ate race fea­tured one of the largest gender gaps in the coun­try, with self-in­flic­ted wounds from GOP nom­in­ee Ken Buck on gay rights and abor­tion. Gard­ner praised the rul­ing, but quickly pivoted to his sup­port for or­al con­tra­cept­ives to be avail­able over-the-counter. Out­side groups are hit­ting Re­pub­lic­an Thom Tillis over edu­ca­tion cuts, an is­sue that res­on­ates with wo­men in the state. A new Civ­itas poll showed Hagan with a whop­ping 25-point lead among wo­men un­der 45, re­vers­ing a six-point de­fi­cit she held the pre­vi­ous month.

Mean­while, over the week­end, Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren tested the eco­nom­ic end of the ar­gu­ment cam­paign­ing for Ken­tucky Sec­ret­ary of State Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes. Re­pub­lic­ans were sur­prised to see such a po­lar­iz­ing lib­er­al fig­ure cam­paign­ing in a con­ser­vat­ive state, but her core eco­nom­ic is­sues (on pa­per) poll well, ac­cord­ing to Green­berg’s find­ings. Demo­crats need to ex­ploit a gender gap to have a shot de­feat­ing Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, but they may end up ral­ly­ing more of the GOP base in­stead. —Josh Kraush­aar

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