Immediately after Politico published a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade on Monday, May 2, web traffic exploded for the websites of pro-choice organizations and the primary Democratic fundraising site, ActBlue.
- Traffic to the website of Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion rights organization in the U.S., more than tripled from an average of about 150,000 visits per day in the days prior to the news to more than 480,000 on May 3, the day Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft opinion was authentic.
- ActBlue, the primary Democratic fundraising website, saw visits more than double over the same period. After averaging a little over 300,000 daily visits in the days leading up to the news, it drew more than 595,000 visits on May 3.
- For the past several months, the comparable Republican fundraising site WinRed has been edging ahead of ActBlue in traffic, for example with 12.2 million WinRed visits in March to 11 million for ActBlue. If the pattern of recent days is sustained, WinRed stands to lose that edge.
A surge in Traffic to Pro-Choice Websites
Assuming the leaked draft of an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito becomes an official ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government would no longer hold that a woman has a Constitutional right to an abortion. Instead, each state would be free to make its own laws on whether it should be allowed at all or with what restrictions. The impending end of Roe v. Wade as settled law provoked an immediate reaction, mostly on the pro-choice side of the issue.
The chart below presents an overview of the pattern based on traffic to 5 leading pro-choice and 5 leading pro-life organization websites. On the pro-choice side, it primarily represents traffic to plannedparenthood.org.
Reuters reported that donations to these organizations were also surging, for example NARAL Pro-Choice America said it experienced a 1,403% increase in donations in the 24 hours after the news broke.
While pro-life activists may be celebrating the impending victory for their cause, they don’t seem to have been as motivated to rush to the websites of pro-life organizations.
Here is a more detailed view of the pattern on the pro-choice side, with Planned Parenthood’s website gaining the most and several domains with lower traffic (like NARAL’s prochoiceamerica.org) seeing their own proportional spikes. You can also see that the elevated traffic settled down in the following days and weeks.
Meanwhile, the news also provoked a reaction on the pro-life side, but not on the same scale.
ActBlue Benefits from Surge in Concern
The Supreme Court news also drove a surge in visitors to ActBlue, a centralized fundraising site for Democratic candidates and causes, more so than for the WinRed site for Republicans. If those visitors followed through with a donation, that could be good news for Democrats.
In recent months, we had been seeing signs of the opposite trend, where Republicans were flocking to WinRed in larger numbers.
More Data, On Request
The Similarweb Newsroom can pull more data on request for journalists following this story, including state-by-state breakdowns. For example, here is what the reaction to the news looked like on the pro-choice side in Texas, which already has aggressive restrictions on abortion.
Early indications are that pro-choice activists are reacting to the anticipated Supreme Court ruling with the most fervor. As the party most aligned with the pro-choice cause, the Democratic Party may benefit the most from this news if the volume of visits to its primary fundraising website translates into donations.
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