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Younger females register to vote in Maricopa post-Dobbs decision

Posted at 9:35 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 00:35:35-04

As we get closer to election day one of the major questions is how major a role the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision will play in Arizona’s general election.

On June 24, the US Supreme Court struck down Roe V. Wade, paving the way for states to have full control over their abortion laws.

It caused a major shift in messaging for both Republicans and Democrats in a cycle where candidates from both parties began the year talking about the economy and inflation.

Recent polling universally agrees that the economy is still on top, but local pollster Paul Bentz says that abortion has taken a higher priority.

“What we are seeing is a pretty significant concern particularly among female respondents,” Bentz said. “The notion if you put a criminalization of abortion compared to reproductive rights, we are seeing a significant shift towards the protection of reproductive rights.”

Data from the latest Maricopa County data file in part supports this, about 120,000 people have registered to vote in the Valley this year. Almost 40% of new registrations occurred in just the past seventy days.

A surge in late June to early July added almost 15,000 new registrants.

The increase in registrants does coincide with the close of registration for the August primary, which typically sees a brief rise in registration with this year being no different.

What is different however is the makeup of new registrants before and after the Dobbs decision.

Republican registration as a share of newly registered voters dipped slightly in the months following the Dobbs decision but Democratic registrations increased from a share of 20% of new registrations to 25%.

Registrations from women picked up slightly as well.

Before the Dobbs decision, they made up about 47% of new registrations.

This increased to 49% post Dobbs.

Additionally, the women who are now registering to vote tend to be younger.

The average age of newly registered women voters pre-Dobbs was 40. It dropped to 36 after the decision.

The average age of men also dropped but not at the same rate. Going from 39 to 36.5.

It is very unlikely that something as seismic as Dobbs will come along and reverse these trends in newly registered voters in Maricopa County.

Though political experts like Bentz point to the trends as being beneficial to Democrats, Republicans still maintain heavy advantages that come with being the party that does not hold the Presidency during a mid-term.

“What we’ve seen with the Dobbs decision is that it’s taken what should be a very good year for Republicans and made it very competitive,” Bentz added. “Particularly at the top of the ticket.