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UVA Center for Politics analyzes what Virginia voters will care about in upcoming elections

Midterm elections are just a few months away and experts are already analyzing topics that could sway voters.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 9:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Midterm elections are just a few months away and experts are already analyzing topics that could sway voters.

Abortion just became a big topic in the midterms, but experts we spoke with say there are plenty more that could impact who’s elected.

“Who knew this abortion opinion was going to be leaked, you never know what’s coming the next day,” Larry Sabato with UVA’s Center for Politics said.

Sabato is known as an expert in analyzing elections and voter engagement.

“Judging by public opinion polls all over the country, as well as national polls, people are most concerned about inflation and other aspects of the economy,” Sabato said.

He says that’s a topic that will bring out more right-wing voters.

“Democrats have to hope that inflation drops by at least two or three percentage points, if that’s even possible by November. Right now, it’s above 8% annually,” Sabato said.

He says the left needs abortion to outweigh inflation in the polls.

“This is going to be enormously controversial, and it may well motivate the democratic troops to get out to vote. That was the Democrats major problem before this opinion was leaked, getting democrats activated,” Sabato said.

He says the lack of motivation impacted the 2021 races. It could be different this time around.

“Virginia is not high up on the midterm schedule this year because we don’t have a race for governor. We don’t have a race for U.S. Senator and there are only three or four of the U.S. House races that are considered highly competitive,” Sabato said.

He says one of those competitive races is Representative Abigail Spanberger’s Seventh district.

“Across the counties I represent in the counties, where I am campaigning, I’ve been focused on the issues that matter really locally,” Spanberger said.

She says that includes working on agriculture space, addressing supply chain issues, helping the trucking industry and more.

“Across our district, I’ve focused on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, ensuring opportunity exists for small business owners for kids and young people that want to pursue career and technical training,” Spanberger said.

While it’s hard to know what other topics will pop up and shift results, Sabato says Ukraine will not be as big of a topic as some may think.

“Most Democrats and most Republicans actually agree on that. They’re rooting for Ukraine, not Russia. They want the U.S. to support Ukraine, and we’ve been doing so, so I don’t think that will rise to the level of being a salient issue in this particular election,” Sabato said.

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