Have Republicans Lost the "Value Voters"?
On Sunday Sept. 24th the Star Tribune ran a story on the upcoming elections. The article focused mainly on the â€śvalue voters,â€? people who vote for candidates solely based on value issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and the death penalty, and how their support for the conservative party may be waning. â€śValue Votersâ€? describe themselves as feeling less than satisfied with their current representatives and the lack of attention given to value issues. Recent rallies have been focused on regaining their support and vote. The 2004 elections saw a huge boom in â€śvalue votersâ€? but with other issues like the war in Iraq and the declining economy there has been very little focus on the moral issues. The national group Focus on the Family has been trying to regain this support with campaigns to â€śget church voters to the pollsâ€? and Chairman James Dobson will be in the cities next week to give his speech rally.
I found this article interesting because it directly related to a topic discussed by Putnam. In Bowling Alone, Putnam argues that even as the general trend of social capital and civic participation in the U.S. is very low there are specific groups that are still likely to be more consistent in voter turnout. Churchgoers are one group in specific that are said to be more likely to vote, however, this group is being targeted directly by the conservatives for the upcoming elections. These campaigns are trying to get these â€śvalue votersâ€? interested and participating again like they were in 2004 but for some it may already be too little too late. I think it will be extremely interesting to see if these voters will make as much of an impact as they did in the 2004 elections, or if they really do feel forgotten and hopeless. With the war and economy dominating the forefront of discussions and public attention the conservatives could potentially lose the support of their one time guaranteed supporters.