Sep 23, 2022 - Politics

SCOTUS abortion ruling drives voter registration for Arizona women

Illustration of two protest signs laid down with a large hand marking one sign with a blue checkmark, resembling a ballot vote
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The overturning of Roe v. Wade sparked a wave of women in the U.S. registering to vote, and there are indicators that the trend has extended to Arizona.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping that the reversal of Roe will drive women to the polls to vote for candidates who support abortion rights and boost their chances in a year that otherwise should favor Republicans.

The big picture: State and county election officials don't track voter registration by gender, making it difficult to determine whether women started registering in greater numbers after the SCOTUS ruling.

  • However, TargetSmart, a data firm that does work for national Democratic organizations, analyzed registrations in Arizona and found that women edged out men by 2 percentage points in voter registrations after the June 24 decision, compared to a 5 point advantage for men before the ruling.

By the numbers: TargetSmart counted 3,947 voter registrations by women in Arizona in the week after Roe's reversal, compared with 3,247 men.

  • During the equivalent time period in 2018 — 19 weeks before the election — 3,102 women registered compared with 3,427 men.
  • The week before Dobbs, voter registrations by men outnumbered women by nearly 400.

Yes, and: Sam Almy, an Arizona Democratic operative, measured the period from May 1 to July 31 and found a similar trend.

Between the lines: Because the state and counties don't track registrations by gender, the analyses are imperfect and many registrants' genders couldn't be determined.

  • Almy tells Axios that he used first and middle names for his analysis.
  • TargetSmart uses a proprietary model that analyzes more than just names, though it's unclear what other data they use.

Of note: Republicans still outnumbered Democrats in total voter registrations during the period Almy analyzed, and according to data from the Secretary of State's Office, the GOP's registration advantage over Democrats has increased this year.

  • There are nearly 162,000 more Republicans than Democrats registered in Arizona.

What they're saying: "Is 400 votes going to make or break the election? Probably not. But it shows that enthusiasm certainly swinging back to the Democratic Party," Almy tells Axios.

The other side: Brian Murray, a GOP campaign consultant in Arizona, tells Axios that the court's decision has helped motivate Democrats and partially negated the economic issues that are aiding the GOP this year.

  • "The real question is, is that a sustainable message to keep their electorate motivated to vote? I don't think we know yet," Murray said.
  • He noted that President Biden celebrated his Inflation Reduction Act on a day when the stock market suffered significant losses and the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing the consumer price index experienced a one-year increase of 8.3% nationwide, and a record 13% in the Phoenix metro area.
  • There are signs that the Democrats' recent surge of momentum has waned in the run-up to the midterm elections.
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