04/12/2007 - The 2008 presidential election is still more than a year-and-a-half away, but some issues, such as the war in Iraq and health care, have already begun to define the contest. Others will emerge in the months ahead to catch the attention of candidates and the electorate, and at least some of these will likely belong to the clutch of issues that fuel the nation's so-called "culture war."
Culture war issues tend to transcend mere public policy questions, aiming instead at voters' core ethical and religious values. Spanning a host of policy areas, they include abortion, homosexuality, certain kinds of biomedical research, physician-assisted suicide, church-state separation and the death penalty. While these and other issues will all receive some attention during the coming campaign, most will probably not have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.
Indeed, a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that the biggest such issues, abortion and gay marriage, were not priorities for voters, ranking at the very bottom of a list of 19 issues that voters deemed important. Education, the economy and national security issues were among those at the top.
Read the full article The Culture War and the Coming Election on the Pew Research Center Web site.