One of my favorite topics was recently discussed at The Heritage Foundation’s InsiderOnline Blog:
Social Issues Matter
Ignoring social issues and talking only about economics isn’t a winning formula for conservative candidates, says a new report from the group American Principles in Action. The report contains a lot of data showing that Americans agree with many social conservative views. On abortion, for example:
[A] May 2013 Gallup poll showed that women, independents, and younger voters all favored the GOP position—making abortion illegal in all or most cases—by at least a +17 margin.
For example, 37 percent of men and 40 percent of women say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 59 percent of men and 57 percent of women say that they believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases (producing a pro-life advantage of 22 points for men and 17 points for women).
Meanwhile, young voters are the most pro-life generation ever. The May 2013 Gallup poll showed that Millennials (ages 18-34), support making abortion illegal in all or most cases by a margin of 57 percent to 41 percent, a +16 pro-life advantage. They were also the age group most likely to support making abortion illegal in all cases. Only 29 percent of Millennials support the Democratic Party’s position on abortion.
Among Independents in the Gallup poll, 59 percent say that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases compared to 38 percent who say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a 21 point pro-life advantage. [Internal citations omitted.] [“Building a Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012,” by Francis Cannon, Maggie Gallagher, and Rich Danker, American Principles in Action, October 2013.]
Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan Anderson seconds the notion that the winning conservative message is one that integrates economic arguments with social arguments:
Conservatives must not refuse to talk about social policy. If we conservatives fail to articulate a clear and compelling case on these issues, liberals will caricature our positions. Conversely, conservatives should not fail to highlight the extreme views of liberals on social issues—for instance, supporting taxpayer-funded abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Public opinion polls on marriage show challenges with the younger generation, of course. But there is no reason to think conservatives cannot rise to the occasion and meet the challenge. After all, the only way to guarantee a political loss is to sit idly by. We should frame our message, strengthen coalitions, devise strategies, and make the case for marriage. Persistent, winsome witness tends to produce good fruit, as it has in the pro-life cause. […]
At the end of the day, economic conservatism and social conservatism spring from the same source. They are grounded in the same principles of natural right and natural law that informed our nation’s Founding—principles that the conservative movement exists to protect. [First Things, October 25]