America’s politicians, especially Democrats, are far more interested in sex than American voters. That’s one way to read a new AP poll finding that “culture war issues” just are far less important to the American people than one would think from listening to pundits and politicians:
Only 32 percent of likely voters called gay marriage an important issue, compared with 91 percent ranking the economy important, 78 percent with similar concerns about health care and 74 percent naming Ebola important. The issue that some Democrats have emphasized most of all – abortion rights – also has been a relatively low priority, with only 43 percent of likely voters in a September poll ranking it important.
Yet women’s health and reproductive rights have been at the center of campaigns for U.S. Senate in Alaska, Iowa, North Carolina and especially Colorado. There, half of the ads aired by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and those backing his re-election have criticized his GOP opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, on women’s health issues.
Democrats are disregarding the priorities of the voter by highlighting social issues in an election year when Americans care most about their bank account and paycheck. That may well be a factor in the increasingly likely GOP takeover of the Senate.There’s another takeaway to be had from this data as well. One popular media narrative about health care is that Obamacare has dropped out as an election issue. The New York Times ran a story to that effect just a few days ago. But health care remains an extremely important issue to the average voter, which reflects continued public anxiety despite the Affordable Care Act. Pro-repeal or not, voters clearly don’t believe the ACA has responded adequately to their concerns.