(WASHINGTON) — On abortion access, inflation and current and future leaders of the Republican Party, here’s what swing state residents recently had to say.
Late last month, Arizona Democrats held a rally for abortion rights in protest of a territorial-era abortion ban that recently went into effect.
Liberal women said it made them second-class citizens; Republican women argued that if Democrats want an abortion so badly, they should move.
“It’s an absolute scare tactic and they can go to California and get their abortion if they want,” said Republican voter Karen Deadrick. “California will even pay for you to get your abortion.”
In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that eliminates copay for abortions.
At a Sept. 24 rally supporting abortion access, attendees said the November races are the most important for protecting their reproductive rights.
“How you can say you’re about democracy and then completely spit in the face of democracy is absolutely absurd to me,” said Phoenix voter Gina Schmidt. “How you can say you want the government out of people’s lives but you want to get into making choices about my body is beyond something that I can even fathom in my brain.”
“I don’t want to tell you what to do with your life or your bodies [and] don’t tell me what to do with my life or my body, and we can all peacefully coexist,” Schmidt said.
“This is making women essentially second-class citizens,” said another Phoenix voter, Heather Nastri. “If you care at all about your rights, about women’s rights, your mother, your daughter, you need to get out and vote.”
Krista Smiley said she moved to Arizona three years ago after being “forced out” of California. She said she didn’t believe that Republicans were going to stop all abortions. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned this summer, at least 12 states have ceased nearly all abortion services.
“They [Democrats] are making it sound like Republicans want to stop all of it,” said Smiley. “That’s not true. That’s not true. There’s Christian organizations and stuff out there to help.”
“With our technology, there’s no reason to have an abortion in the last trimester when the baby can live. And it’s better for the mother to have a c-section than for her to be put under,” said Arizona voter Dawn Waldman who said she felt abortion might be OK in the first trimester.
Adam Sperber is an independent voter and a D.J. who drove from California to Ohio for a September Trump rally with his father. He said that inflation is negatively hurting his business.
“The gas prices: It’s really been hard on my business because of the gas and the mileage traveling from event to event,” said Sperber.
Georgia voter Shannon Bond is a supporter of GOP Senate nominee Hershel Walker. She said that, as a single business owner, her take-home pay has shrunk by 10% given rising everyday costs.
She blamed the Biden administration. While the White House points to other strong economic news, like low unemployment, they also say tackling inflation is their No. 1 priority.
Polling consistently shows President Joe Biden getting low marks for his handling of the issue, which could be a key factor on Election Day.
“What we used to pay for anything is now up. And it’s not because that it is 2022. It is because of who’s in charge and how they are making decisions that affect us all,” said Bond, the Walker supporter.
Raleigh, North Carolina, voters Kay Garrison and Judy Carlgrem also said they felt inflation was out of control.
“I leave the grocery store half the time without buying what I need,” said Garrison.
Carlgrem agreed: “Fewer groceries for four — for more money.”
Trump or DeSantis for leader of the GOP?
Many of the voters in battleground states who spoke with ABC News in recent weeks had two names on their lips: Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.
Some Republican voters said they wanted Trump to run for president again in 2024, as he has repeatedly teased, while others thought he was too hot-headed and that the Florida governor should run instead. Still others imagined a Trump/DeSantis 2024 ticket.
While some were lukewarm at best over Trump’s chances of winning the White House again, very few voters did not want DeSantis to run nationally at all.
Scott Sperber, in Ohio, said that if it was Trump versus DeSantis in a hypothetical GOP presidential primary, he would support the former president — but only if it was, as Sperber put it, the best thing for Trump given the many controversies swirling around him. (Trump denies any wrongdoing.)
“Part of me feels like we should support somebody else because he did enough and it seems like a losing battle — I hate to say that,” Sperber said.
Other Trump supporters, like Saul Sofilen of Wisconsin, imagined a world in which DeSantis succeeds Trump in four years.
Rex Hugelman had an outsider’s view as a Democrat from Lincoln, Nebraska. He said that he thinks DeSantis would have a primary-race edge over Trump for the same reason Trump won against Hillary Clinton in 2016: “He was seen as the lesser of two evils.”
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