(Bloomberg) -- Democrats made abortion their top issue in the last year’s midterms — the subject saw a 500% increase in mentions in political advertising over 2020 — and they are planning to replay that strategy in 2024.
After the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion a year ago, the procedure was mentioned in ads that aired 1.1 million times, up from 175,000 in 2020, according to AdImpact, which tracks political ads on television, cable, radio and digital platforms. The topic trailed only taxation, which featured in ads aired 1.3 million times.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopefuls have largely shied away from offering policy specifics on abortion, as the majority of Americans support legal access to it, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. None of the eight Republican advertisers —campaigns and super PACs — that are currently airing broadcast ads in the GOP primary contest have mentioned abortion.
In contrast, abortion features in 59% of the ads run by President Joe Biden, who has made defending reproductive rights a prominent theme in his reelection bid. Of the three broadcast ads he’s run, two mention abortion. Those ads have run in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
As the one-year anniversary of the ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case approached Saturday, Democrats raised the subject in communications with donors and supporters.
Candidates for state office, including Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz, sent fundraising emails. Campaigns of Democrats in Congress released 49 emails mentioning abortion or reproductive rights in the last week, according to data from Pundit Analytics, which tracks the emails, Facebook ads and social media postings of elected officials and candidates.
Read more: Democrats’ 2024 Plan Aims to Stoke Voter Angst Over Abortion
Democratic Representative Colin Allred of Texas, who’s running to challenge Republican Senator Ted Cruz, wrote in a fundraising email Tuesday that unlike the incumbent, he’d supported legislation to codify Roe v Wade, the decision the court overturned, into federal law. “I need your help to show Ted Cruz and his allies just how out of touch and unpopular their dangerous anti-choice views are,” he said.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington sent an email appeal noting that since last year’s ruling, the procedure had been banned in one-third of the country. It asked recipients to sign a petition.
Representative Eric Sorensen of Illinois, a freshman Democrat, also seized on the anniversary. “Defending this swing district is critical to retake the House majority and push back against the right-wing assault on a woman’s right to choose,” his campaign told supporters. “Will you chip in $3 or more to our reelection campaign today?”
The Dobbs ruling produced a fundraising windfall for Democratic candidates. ActBlue, the party’s online donation platform, said that some of the biggest daily totals in the second quarter of 2022 came after the decision; it processed more than $2 million an hour the day after the ruling.
--With assistance from Billy House.
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