Press Release

September 14, 2022

Strategists weigh implications of abortion, student loan handout, gun control on upcoming midterms

The Democratic Party is seeking to hold on to its majority in the House this fall as the midterm elections approach and several candidates from the party place focus on issues they feel will motivate their base to turn out and vote, but some strategists suggest those issues will do little to impact the results as Americans remain focused on the economy.

While President Biden and congressional leaders from the party have prioritized several issues in recent months, three controversial topics — abortion, gun control, and student loan debt — are at the forefront of several campaigns who are seeking to retain their seats in the House or defeat their Republican challengers in November.

To better understand whether how those three topics will have an impact on the upcoming midterm elections, and whether Democrats will be able to keep control of the House by discussing those issues, Fox News Digital contacted political experts from both sides of the aisle to get their assessment.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee:

"Democrats will win if bold action is taken on kitchen table issues that tangibly improve people's lives."

"That applies to making sure abortion access is legal, which is supported by overwhelming numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. It applies to reducing gun shootings in schools by taking steps that are overwhelmingly popular with NRA members who love their kids and don't want them killed. And it certainly applies to helping millions of working-class families who have been cheated by a broken student debt system and saddled with spiraling debt."

"Democrats need to highlight [Biden's] accomplishments – and others like lowering prescription prices, creating millions of jobs, protecting our democracy, and making air and water cleaner for kids. Voters need to be reminded that Republican politicians in DC opposed all this progress and now are campaigning on fringe ideas like privatizing Social Security and raising taxes on working class families to fund tax cuts for billionaires."

Scott Rasmussen, pollster & president of RMG Research:

"The easy answer is no. Despite all the political noise, the issue driving voters in this election is still the economy. The reason Democrats have closed the gap a bit in some polling is that voters are a bit less pessimistic about the economy. In my latest survey, 23% of voters said their finances are getting better while 40% say worse. That -17 net is not good, but it's not as bad as the -28 the month before."

"The other thing to keep in mind is that uncommitted voters have a very negative view of President Biden — consistently more than 70% disapproval. That suggests we will see a gradual improvement for the GOP prospects as voters near a final decision. The Democrats will not win the House. And, while it's not quite as certain, the GOP remains likely to win control of the Senate."

Chuck Rocha, Democratic strategist and senior adviser for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign:

"Democrats doing lots of stuff to make people lives better is always a good strategy to help win political campaigns."

Tina Ramirez, spokesperson for Maggie's List:

"Unprecedented government spending and fiscal irresponsibility by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have brought our country to a financial breaking point. Families across our nation can no longer afford basic necessities like groceries, gas and household goods. Further, President Biden’s unprecedented student loan bailout is an outrageous, expensive overreach and an attempt to buy votes. This fall, Americans will choose conservative candidates in order to restore economic prosperity to our nation."

Chris Wilson, pollster and former director of digital strategy for the 2016 Cruz Presidential campaign:

"There is no doubt that abortion is going to motivate some younger voters to turn out at higher rates than they would have in this election and that we are seeing more young women registering to vote. But that’s not likely to be enough to save the Democratic majority. We are seeing voters in battleground districts saying that the economy is more important to their vote than abortion by significant margins. And the bad Biden economy is pretty locked in as a significant negative for Democrats at this point."

"Other issues that Democrats might hope to leverage like gun control just aren’t as salient and fall well down the list of top issues voters care about, after a variety of economic concerns, crime, and abortion. There’s some initial evidence that the student loan forgiveness handout is actually backfiring against Democrats and motivating more Republican-leaning blue collar and older voters. … It’s definitely not an issue that is going to help Democrats — the kinds of urban districts where most of the recipients live are deep blue areas anyhow."

In August, Biden announced plans to forgive $10,000 in student debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 annually. Pell Grant recipients will receive $20,000 in debt handouts, provided their income is below the $125,000 threshold. Administration officials claim that no individual or household in the top 5% of earners will benefit from the decision.

The Committee for a Responsible Budget estimates the cost of the handouts will be between $440 billion and $600 billion.

The comments provided to Fox News Digital in this article are part of a weekend series in which strategists from across the political spectrum are asked the same questions related to political hot topics and are provided with an opportunity to offer their perspective.