Yes, Social Issues Matter
3:12 PM, Aug 19, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Worth watching: Jeffrey Bell on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, making the (contrarian) case for the importance of social issues in this year's campaign. For more on this, take a look at his fine book, along with his recent articles in THE WEEKLY STANDARD: here, here, and here.
I'd add this: In recent state level polls (including some private ones that I was able to take a look at), Romney seems to be outperforming in Iowa, whose voters in November 2010 removed from office two judges who had read a right to same sex marriage into the state constitution; Colorado, which has been roiled by social and cultural controversies in recent years; and Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is on the ballot this November. I'm also told that Romney's welfare reform and HHS/religious liberty ads have tested well—and both of those issues tap into the social and cultural divide that runs deeper in this country than some Republican elites and consultants appreciate. Voters—including lots of swing voters—care about religious liberty, work, marriage, and the culture and society in general. It's not just the economy, and voters aren't stupid.