Biden tells demonstrators to ‘keep protesting’ as poll shows economy still trumps abortion

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President Joe Biden told demonstrators that he is considering declaring a public health emergency on abortion even as polling shows that most voters do not consider it a top priority.

Mr Biden spoke to reporters and urged abortion rights advocates to keep protesting after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in its Dobbs v Jackson decision late last month.

“Keep protesting. Keep making your point. It’s critically important,” the president said. Reporters asked Mr Biden as he took a break from riding his bicycle in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, whether he would consider declaring a national health emergency.

“That’s something I’ve asked the folks, the medical people in the administration to look at. That is, whether I have the authority to do that and whatever impact that would have,” he said.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision that enshrined the right to seek an abortion, Mr Biden has emphasised that Democratic voters need to turn out in the 2022 midterm election. On Friday, Mr Biden said that he would sign legislation to codify abortion protections if Democrats add two more pro-choice Senators to their 50-seat majority to break a filibuster.

Mr Biden has also said he would support changing the filubuster, the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, to protect abortion rights. However, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona both oppose changing the filibuster.

But a poll from The New York Times and Siena College released Monday showed that abortion is not a top priority among voters. The poll surveyed 849 registered voters with a margin of error of 4.1 per cent.

The economy and inflation remain the top issues for voters, with 20 per cent and 15 per cent of voters, respectively, saying they are the most important problems facing the country today. The state of democracy and political division is the top priority of 11 per cent of voters, while 10 per cent of voters say gun policies are the most important problem facing the country.

By contrast, only five per cent of voters say that abortion and women’s rights were the top problems facing the United States.

Democrats hope to buck the normal trend of the president’s party losing majorities in the House and Senate this midterm election.