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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What are "moral values" to a voter?

A poll by Harris Interactive tries to clarify this.

"Among all likely voters, the most important issues in deciding which presidential candidate to support were the economy (68%), health care (37%), taxes (31%) and the war in Iraq (31%)."

There is some difference between Obama supporters and McCain supporters, but the interesting thing to me is what follows:

"However, only 14 percent of McCain supporters (and 4% of Obama supporters) mentioned abortion as being one of their most important issues"

So maybe, after 35+ years, this issue is one we're willing to let sit. Maybe it's more divisive in the media and fund-raising sphere than it is to the rest of us.

"...when these voters were asked what moral values were important to them, they were more likely to refer to the personal character of the candidates, their honesty and integrity (60%), than to what the pundits often refer to as moral or family values (40%). This is true of both Obama voters and McCain voters, although the latter were much more likely to mention family or religious values such as abortion or gay marriage; and,

"Of all the moral values mentioned that fit the stereotype of the "values voter" as portrayed in the media, only abortion was mentioned by a substantial number of people. Relatively few voters, in this election, seemed to think gay marriage or Christian or family values were of great importance. Hardly any mentioned stem cell research

"...when voters say that they prefer a candidate on the basis of "moral values", and/or when they say moral values are very important to them; they are probably referring to a candidate's personal values, and not the politician's position on abortion, single sex marriage, Christian beliefs, or stem cell research. If you equate the words "values voters" to "moral voters", caveat lector - let the reader beware!