Jun 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mapped: Which districts are Googling "abortion" the most

Data: Google Trends; Map: Jacque Schrag and Will Chase/Axios
Data: Google Trends; Map: Jacque Schrag and Will Chase/Axios

"Abortion" landed in the top five most-Googled midterm topics in every single congressional district in America in the week the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — compared to just one district the week prior, according to Axios' midterms dashboard.

Why it matters: Abortion has now surged as a top issue for potential midterm voters. It's a trend Democrats hope will fuel turnout in their favor come November, but the potency of the issue will depend on future state actions and Americans' attention spans.

  • Abortion became the No. 2 most-searched midterm topic in the nation last week — ousting "taxes" from the top two, and falling second only to "jobs."
  • The Supreme Court made it into the national top five for the first time since Axios has been tracking the data.

What we're watching: Democrats saw a small bump on generic ballot surveys in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision.

  • Abortion rights activists see an opportunity to drive voters to the polls in November, and pro-abortion rights ads are already flooding social media, as Axios has reported.
  • But November is a long way away, and Republicans still have huge political advantages heading into the midterms.

By the numbers: Five districts had "abortion" as their No. 1 most-searched issue: Arizona's 1st, California's 16th and 32nd, Massachusetts' 5th and Maine's 1st. All are rated solid Democratic districts by FiveThirtyEight except for Arizona's 1st, which leans Republican.

  • On average, districts rated as "toss up" had higher search interest in abortion than any other political bucket, followed by districts that "lean right."
  • Of those "lean right" and "toss up" districts, the ones with the highest level of interest in the topic were Arizona's 4th and 1st districts, followed by Wisconsin's 1st, Kansas' 3rd, Connecticut's 2nd and Virginia's 7th.
  • The new, competitive Arizona 4th District, currently represented by Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton, had the highest search interest in abortion of any district.

Our thought bubble: While attention to abortion surged everywhere, Google interest along the "Bible Belt" appeared noticeably lower than in other parts of the country.

  • This geographic segment of America tends to have large numbers of white evangelicals — 74% of whom believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to data by Pew Research Center.
  • Search interest in abortion was also particularly high in districts in Midwest swing states that have not yet passed laws codifying abortion rights or bans, such as in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Go deeper