10/15/2007 - With no clear heir apparent to President Bush, and a nominating contest that remains very much in flux, many 2008 Republican presidential candidates are vying for the support of an influential segment of the primary electorate - social-issue voters. These voters are Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, many of whom are conservative Christians, who say social issues such as abortion and gay marriage will be very important in their presidential voting decisions.
These social-issue voters have been very visible in recent weeks. A "values voter" debate and straw poll was held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sept. 17. A group of influential Christian conservatives met in Salt Lake City, Utah, the last weekend in September and vowed to consider supporting a third-party candidate if the eventual Republican nominee does not represent their values. And starting Oct. 19, a number of Republican candidates will participate in a "values voter summit" in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Family Research Council, an influential conservative advocacy group. The event, billed as the largest gathering of values voters from across the nation, will feature appearances by all the Republican presidential candidates and a straw poll of attendees.
A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that for the general public, social issues continue to be overshadowed in the presidential campaign by the war in Iraq and domestic issues such as the economy and health care. Nevertheless, a large portion of Republican voters (43%) say social issues will be very important in deciding who to vote for in the 2008 presidential race.
Read the full article A Portrait of Republican Social-Issue Voters at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.