With summer in the rearview mirror, Americans have started to turn their attention to the upcoming midterm elections.

Predictably, economic issues — inflation, gas prices, fears of a looming recession — dominated the early months of the campaign. But ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, and in so doing gave states the power to legislate the right to abortion, the issue has upended races up and down the ballot. Some experts have argued that it may well prove the Democratic party’s 2022 “silver bullet.”

Democrats are hoping to maintain control of the House and boost their slim majority in the Senate by winning over voters outraged by the Supreme Court ruling. Should they succeed, their future plans could involve codifying abortion protections into federal law to prevent Republicans from pushing through a nationwide abortion ban.

It appears the battle against abortion restrictions may be galvanizing Democrats. In some battleground states — notably Arizona, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin — abortion has emerged as hot-button issue in the races for governor, attorney general and seats in the state legislature.

In Arizona, for example, governor candidate and current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has pointed to abortion rights as a leading priority for her campaign. Democrat Kris Mayes, who has been an outspoken supporter of abortion rights, is running to be the state’s attorney general.

In Georgia, where abortion is banned after six weeks, Stacey Abrams is again running for governor, challenging Republican incumbent Brian Kemp. While Abrams lost against Kemp in 2018, she remains a stalwart supporter of abortion rights.

Recent polls have shown that support for pro-abortion laws has grown since Roe v. Wade was overturned. According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, 60% of voters said they believed abortion should be legal in most cases, an increase from 55% in March. Only 6% of people polled said abortion should be illegal in all cases, down from 11% in March.

The abortion issue could well be spurring more people to make plans to vote. More than half of respondents said the overturning of Roe v. Wade has made them more likely to vote in the midterm elections.

Another recent Wall Street Journal survey found that independent voters were beginning to lean more Democratic after the abortion ruling. Since March, 47% said they were more likely to vote Democrat (a rise from 41% in the previous study)  while 44% said they were more likely to vote Republican (a drop from 46%).

But not all are convinced that the increase in abortion restrictions will truly sway the midterm elections. Terry Haines, founder of healthcare consultancy Pangaea Policy, noted that Democrats are starting this election season with a handful of disadvantages: an unpopular president with unpopular policies, as well as a country riddled with inflation and economic discontent.

“There’s not much Democrats can do about the first three, so they’re trying hard to use everything they can to increase turnout and limit damage to congressional majorities that already are tiny and imperiled,” Haines explained. “They’re being helped by ‘game change’ narratives, but the media pushing that line have a poor predictive record. It’s the same folks who erroneously predicted Democratic blue waves in 2016 and 2020.”

Haines added that Democrats are employing what he characterized as a “spaghetti strategy… You throw all the ideas up against the wall and see what sticks.”

But clearly they’re hoping abortion will be one of the rare issues that will meaningfully impact enthusiasm (and, in theory, turnout) among Democratic and independent voters. As a result, Haines said he expects the party to continue pressing the issue. He noted that, to date, it has moved the needle slightly in polling and special elections.

Of course, no matter what the polls say about movement among voters toward pro-abortion stances, the issue is far more complicated nationwide. While there have been increases in the number of women registering to vote in states like Kansas, that same pattern hasn’t yet repeated itself in New Mexico or other states thought to be potential political battlegrounds.

“The abortion issue isn’t a national monolith,” Haines stressed. “Dobbs didn’t ban abortion and the issue cuts differently in every state, depending on what state governments are doing to address it.”