Restrictions on Abortion, Voting Among Likely Drivers in NC, U.S. Elections, Experts Say

Restrictions on Abortion, Voting Among Likely Drivers in NC, U.S. Elections, Experts Say

Deondra Rose, Duke professor of public policy and political science, who studies voter behavior

“We have so many rich conversations where the students express frustration with the fact that they do show up. When they do show up to vote often times they don’t see policy outcomes that address the challenges that are important to them.”

“One of the factors that will be really crucial in determining whether that exhaustion effect carries the day is whether the candidates who are on the ballot inspire young people to turn out. If they see the same old rhetoric from the same old candidates, I don’t know that will bode well for young people turning out.”


Kerry Haynie

“Age would be a big factor. … President Biden will be in his mid-80s if he gets re-elected. I think that’s a real issue.”

“That issue may be outweighed and overcome on the other side by the legal issues related to former President Trump – if he’s the nominee and presume that he will be notwithstanding the indictments.”

“The trials, the trial schedule will be a big factor that may make age on the other side less of an issue if it really is one to begin with.”

“The criminal charges will be interesting. As these cases unfold and evidence comes out in a criminal proceeding. I think we’ll see a change in public opinion. The former president seems to be doing well in early polling in Republican primary states. …. But as information comes out through trials and evidence we may see some dramatic shifts in support for the former president in his own party and certainly among independent voters who may not be willing to hop on that train again.”


Deondra Rose

“One of the major factors that has shaped elections historically has been the legitimacy of the candidates and just sort of the integrity of the process. To my mind, the fact that we’re even having this conversation reflects just how much has changed politically and what a unique political landscape we’re operating in, when there’s certain features of a candidate that aren’t disqualifying. That may actually serve to energize a base.”

“To my mind it really speaks to the polarization of the political landscape and the fact that lawmakers have an incentive to vocally push back against the establishment and frame themselves as outside the box or outside the norms of politics. I think that’s actually a really interesting, relatively new feature of our political landscape that I don’t think is going away anytime soon.”

Kerry Haynie

“On the Democratic side they can go out and make the argument, make the case that do you really want this chaos?”

“Sleepy Joe, if you will, can make the case that, ‘Hey, I look pretty good compared to this chaos … do you want that again?”


Kerry Haynie

“If you go back to 2020 and go to Georgia, you see what’s happening in the state of Georgia when Democrats won … some Senate races. That in part … was due to a demographic shift in the state of Georgia. But not just changing demographics. That’s an important factor, but more important is turning your voters out. There was a very effective turnout campaign in Georgia. So demographics are important, but demographics are not destiny. You have to work to get your voters out to the polls.”


Deondra Rose

“According to Pew, we know that 62 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Among younger voters, people between 18 and 44, that’s even a little higher, at 66 percent. I think this presents an especially interesting issue for both parties. Especially for the Republican Party because there’s a generational divide when it comes to reproductive rights. Among young Republicans between 18 and 44, the Pew organization reports that 47 percent of them believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. That’s compared to a more modest 34 percent for Republicans over the age of 45. I think we saw this in the Republican primary debate when candidates got that question and it’s really clear there are some mismatches between the candidates’ positions on reproductive rights and where younger people are. I think that’s also the case for climate change.”

Kerry Haynie

“We saw in the past few days, former President Trump trying to pivot on this issue when it comes to reproductive rights and abortion. He was hardline and bragged and boasted about his Supreme Court appointments that helped shape and change the precedent on this issue. But now he’s trying to pivot … understanding the public may not be where his party is on this issue and wanting a more progressive stance on reproductive rights than where the Republican party has placed itself over the last several years.”


Kerry Haynie

“I think the abortion issue will loom large. One of the things about this state, we have quite a few young voters, the colleges and universities … and there will be some activities on the campuses around this issue, health care, and the climate issue as well. We are on the coast, and these storms that seem to be more powerful and (have a) more frequent effect on us in North Carolina, and I think that issue will also be a driver in turnout.”

“Even voting rights. This is something we thought we had put to rest – access to the ballot. But we’ve seen in some states, including here in North Carolina, efforts to restrict the rights of folks to vote, to make it harder to vote, and that will be a driver in turning out voters.”


Deondra Rose

“It’s a hot topic in our state, it’s a hot issue, but we’re not alone.”

“In anticipation of 2024, we’ve seen state legislatures working to either expand access to the ballot or to restrict it. We’re seeing some expansions of early voting, of mail-in voter access and voter opportunity, but in many other states we’re seeing some restrictions made. Efforts to hold poll workers criminally liable if they make mistakes. Restricting access to early voting. Restricting access to mail-in balloting. In some states there are questions about whether college students should be permitted to vote where they’re enrolled in schools. So I think these are some of the issues we are absolutely dealing with in North Carolina.”

“There’s a lot of attention being paid to this and there is active work, but the question is, as the changes are taking places and working to suppress votes, can that activism counteract what we’re seeing?”

“We know from the research that young people are afraid to make mistakes. So one of the most powerful ways to suppress youth voter turnout and voter turnout in general is to make things complicated. Add so many complexities that people have more questions than answers and then they decide to sit it out and say, ‘I don’t want to be in trouble with the law so I’ll just sit this one out and watch on the sidelines.’ And to me, that’s one of the most troubling effects of this particular type of legislation.”


Kerry Haynie

“It’s an effort to overcome a perceived advantage that the party of the governor has in the state’s board of elections. The state board of elections has historically have played it straight; it’s not a partisan position even though they are partisans. They’ve tended to call it as they’ve seen it and oversaw elections in a fair and honest way. Coming out of the 2020 national election and questions about election integrity these boards of election have gotten more attention and folks believe there was some unfair and untoward activities around elections having to do with decisions boards of elections have made.”

“It has become a much more political issue. We didn’t really pay much attention to boards of election before 2020. They just went about doing their business as citizens who want to serve their state and their parties. But they’ve done it in a bipartisan way. I worry about these efforts to put a spotlight on these boards in a partisan way.”


Deondra Rose

“Running for office is challenging for anyone and that’s why we do tend to see certain professions over-represented in elected office. Oftentimes people who are lawyers, for example, have more latitude to run because they have more control over their schedules.”

“That’s a thing that many people, particularly young people, may not have the latitude to do and the means to do. So it’s interesting that young people are paying attention to this.”

“There are quite a few organizations that offer candidate training and recruit candidates. In many cases, young people are not prioritized as the candidates who are recruited.”

Kerry Haynie

“One of the things that is keeping younger folks from jumping in politics is a development we have seen in recent years, which is politicians are under threat. The number of politicians with security details has gone up. And why would anybody want that, right? Even if you’re willing to serve, why would you want to take that on?”

“The legal challenges, the threats of impeachment. Why would you want to subject yourself and your family members to this? And the financial burden that comes with these challenges is something that may be keeping folks away.”


Kerry Haynie

“They’ll be in play quite a bit. For good or bad, polls are with us and they will be a factor in the election cycle. But one thing about polling now: There’s very little correlation between what you see in polls at this stage of a presidential race and what actually happens come next November. So I pay very little attention to what’s going on in these polls now. As we move closer to the election cycle … as we move into next summer, the polls will begin to reflect more accurately voter sentiment.”

Deondra Rose

“In the old days of polling, a lot of it was done by telephone and once people started getting cell phones it was really difficult to connect with them. Now I think, with AI there’s capacity for more sophistication in polling operations, but I think just making sure the polls are keeping up with the needs to connect with the constituencies they need to connect with is a top issue here.”

Faculty Participants:

Kerry Haynie

Kerry Haynie is a professor of political science, professor of African & African American studies, and dean of the Social Sciences at Duke. Haynie researches race and ethnic politics, state and Southern politics and comparative urban politics.

Deondra Rose
Deondra Rose is Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy, an associate professor of political science and history, and director of Polis: Center of Politics. Her research interests include American political development and behavior.