“Sanctuary cities. Weak prosecutors. Crime skyrocketing. Failed liberal policies making us less safe,” an ominous-sounding voice says over grainy images of street crime, in an ad produced by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate, as he tries to paint his opponent Lt. Gov. John Fetterman as soft on crime. 

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs released an ad about her opponent, Republican Kari Lake, and her stance on abortion. 

“Kari Lake is serious. Serious about criminalizing abortion,” the voiceover says over images of Lake. 

As early voting is set to start for this year’s midterm elections, candidates are trying to sway voters with ads designed to hit their opponents on their party’s weak spots — which for Democrats includes crime, and for Republicans includes abortion. 

In a new Deseret News/HarrisX poll of 932 registered voters across the nation, Americans were asked which “culture war” issues made them more likely to vote for Democrats or Republicans in the 2022 midterms. 

The question asked: “How, if at all, will each of the following issues impact who you vote for in the 2022 midterm elections this November?” 

The top issues that pushed voters toward Democrats were abortion and gun regulations, while immigration and crime made voters more likely to choose Republicans. 

On abortion, 40% of respondents said the issue made them more likely to vote for Democrats, while 33% said the issue made them more likely to support Republicans, and 17% said it will not impact their vote. 

Voters were more likely to favor Democrats on gun regulations, with 40% saying the issue made them more likely to vote for Democrats, compared to 37% for Republicans. 

While the economy remains a priority of many voters, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which returned decisions about abortions back to the states, has motivated many voters to support Democrats, according to recent polls

Unsurprisingly, candidates like Hobbs in Arizona want to keep this issue at the forefront of voters’ minds. 

On the other hand, Republicans are trying to keep the focus on immigration and crime, issues on which they poll well. 

On immigration, 41% of respondents to the Deseret News/HarrisX poll said the issue made them more likely to vote Republican, while 34% said the same about Democrats and 14% said the issue does not impact their vote. 

On crime, the numbers still favored Republicans but were closer — 37% said the issue made them more likely to vote Republican, while 34% chose Democrats, and 16% said it would not impact their vote. 

Independent voters, who are critical to candidates’ chances of winning this November, were motivated to vote for Democrats over the issues of abortion and book bans, while they were swayed toward Republicans on immigration and crime. 

The poll was conducted Sept. 20 and 21 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.