(WGHP) — Elections are decided more on what’s happening in the world and your neighborhood than on who the candidates are.

That’s why Democrats feel much better about their chances as we approach the midterm elections than they did in the first part of the year. The Dobbs Decision in which the United State Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year precedent from the Roe v Wade case which established a nationwide right to an abortion in 1973 has energized Democratic voters.

“I suspect it’s an advantage for Democratic candidates in this state and across the country for that decision to come out the way it did,” said Duke University Political Scientist Kerry Haynie.

Some polling suggests that’s true, but woman are split on the issue. More than half of people who describe themselves as pro-life are women.

And though the Dobbs decision has raised the profile of the choice issue in American politics, it’s still several rungs down the ladder from what voters say is most on their minds. A poll in September from High Point University shows that inflation is still the top issue for voters in North Carolina with 73% of respondents saying it was their top issue. 

And who voters blame doesn’t bode well for Democrats. According to HPU, they blame:

  • President Biden: 47%
  • The COVID pandemic: 41%
  • Russia: 37%
  • China: 31%
  • Republicans in Congress: 28%

The top issues, according to the HPU poll, are:

  • Inflation: 73%
  • Education: 71%
  • Healthcare: 69%
  • Jobs: 68%
  • Crime: 64%
  • Corruption: 57%
  • Taxes: 57%
  • Abortion: 56%

“I hate to use the word ‘inflation’ because it sounds like you have to buy into some economic theory,” said Duke Political Scientist Mac McCorkle.  “It’s really the politics of prices. When they go to the grocery store, that’s inflation when prices are high.”

But McCorkle says even though the major issues may not be on the Democrats’ side, they have a good chance to win if they turn this election into a choice of personalities.

“Ironically, we could see this as more of a not just a referenda election which would be bad for Democrats but a choice election with Trump having a prominence that I think Republicans would wish he wouldn’t have,” McCorkle said.

Hear more about the key issues in this year’s midterms in this Your Local Election Headquarters edition of The Buckley Report.