Monday, July 22, 2013

New Study: Conservative Social Issues More Important To GOP Base Than Fiscal Issues

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Much has been said about social issues in the political debate in America.

Many in the Republican Party have been suggesting that the Party back off a little on the "divisive" social issues in order to expand the Party so they can win a national election.

Many of us have been saying the primary reason we care and are involved is our deeply held beliefs in regard to the sanctity of life, the protection of natural marriage and family values.

In fact, following a study last Spring by several Republican consultants that hinted that the Party should move away from these issues, a number of leaders of faith based organizations sent a letter to the Party Chairman warning him that to do so would have negative consequences.

Ironically, a new study conducted by two left leaning organizations has found that the conservative social issues are far more important to the Republican Party's future than conservative economic issues.

The letter, written last April, strongly warned the Republican national Committee Chairman that if the Party ignored people of faith and their strongly held beliefs in the sanctity of life and natural marriage they would be making a "huge historical mistake."

The Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution have just released a collaborative project called "2013 Economic Values Survey," which finds the leaders of the faith based organizations to be right.

In fact, the findings echoed the message from the letter sent back in April.

Using composites of different questions from the poll, the study developed scales of theological, social and economic orientations. Comparing the conservatives in each of those three categories, economic conservatism is the least popular with the American public. Thirty-eight percent of Americans are theological conservatives, 29% are social conservatives, and only 25% are economic conservatives.

Additionally, among Democrats, about one-third, 31%, are theological conservatives and 19% are social conservatives, but only 3% of Democrats are economic conservatives. This suggests that Republicans have a better opportunity to attract Democratic defectors with a theologically conservative or a socially conservative message than an economically conservative message.

How ironic.

Robert P. Jones, CEO and founder of PRRI, looked at the issue by comparing social conservatives and Tea Party conservatives. If the question is whether the Republican Party should follow the social conservative agenda of the Christian Right or the economic conservative agenda of the Tea Party, it is a "nonsensical question," Jones said, because social conservatives comprise the same portion of the Tea Party as the Republican Party. Social conservatives represent 48% of Republicans and 50% of the Tea Party.

The more we learn, the more it becomes apparent that the battle for identity within the Republican Party is a microcosm of the spiritual and cultural battle within the country.

This is a time to stand strong on the most important issues of our times.

Be Vigilant. Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.