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Tuesday’s elections will be shaped by the politics of abortion. Here are the major races to watch

Tuesday’s elections will be shaped by the politics of abortion. Here are the major races to watch. Several states will participate in Tuesday’s off-year general election that will determine the next governor in two states and provide insight into how abortion rights are shaping American politics. One of the most closely watched races is the gubernatorial election in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin. Abortion has become a central issue in this race, with McAuliffe emphasizing his support for reproductive rights and painting Youngkin as an extremist who would restrict access to abortion. Youngkin, on the other hand, has tried to position himself as a moderate on the issue, stating that he supports exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. He has also sought to highlight McAuliffe's controversial comments during a debate, where he seemed to suggest that parents shouldn't have a say in their children's education. Polls have shown a tight race in Virginia, with abortion playing a significant role in voters' decision-making. A recent poll by The Washington Post and George Mason University found that 26% of voters cited abortion as an issue that would be very important to their vote. In addition to the Virginia gubernatorial race, there are several other key races where abortion is a defining issue. In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy is seeking reelection against Republican Jack Ciattarelli. While Murphy has been a vocal supporter of abortion rights, Ciattarelli has taken a more conservative stance, stating that he would support restrictions on late-term abortions. Similarly, in the New York City mayoral race, abortion has emerged as a central issue. Democratic nominee Eric Adams has been criticized by some reproductive rights advocates for his past opposition to abortion rights. His Republican opponent, Curtis Sliwa, has positioned himself as a stronger advocate for pro-life policies. The outcome of these races will offer important insights into how voters prioritize and assess candidates' positions on abortion. They may also have broader implications for the national political landscape, as lawmakers and activists on both sides of the abortion debate look to mobilize voters and shape policy agendas. Abortion has long been a divisive issue in American politics, with stark differences between Democrats and Republicans. The Democratic Party has generally supported abortion rights, while the Republican Party has favored restrictions and, in some cases, sought to overturn the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. However, recent years have seen a significant shift in public opinion on abortion. According to a 2021 Gallup poll, 58% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% believe it should be illegal in all or most cases. This marks a notable increase in support for abortion rights compared to previous years. The politics of abortion have also been influenced by a series of state-level restrictions passed in recent years. Since 2011, state legislatures have enacted more than 500 abortion restrictions, including bans on abortions after a certain number of weeks, mandatory waiting periods, and requirements for parental involvement. These restrictions have triggered legal battles and brought the issue of abortion front and center in many elections. In 2020, abortion rights were one of the key factors in the Senate race in Maine, where Republican Susan Collins faced a tough challenge from Democrat Sara Gideon. Collins, who had previously supported abortion rights, came under scrutiny for her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation raised concerns about the future of Roe v. Wade. Gideon, on the other hand, made her support for abortion rights a central campaign issue. Ultimately, Collins was reelected, but the race highlighted the important role that abortion can play in shaping voters' decisions. As Tuesday's elections approach, it is clear that abortion will continue to be a defining issue. The outcomes in Virginia, New Jersey, and New York City will provide valuable insights into how voters view candidates' positions on this highly contentious topic. While the politics of abortion are complex and deeply divided, one thing is certain: this issue will remain a powerful force in American politics for years to come.

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