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Are social issues an opportunity for conservatives?

October 5, 2009 | NeW Staff

The recently released Gallup Governance poll reveals that 53% of Americans agree that the government should promote traditional values, while 42% of Americans believe the government should not favor any particular set of values. These results differ greatly from last year’s numbers which found Americans divided equally on the issue at 48% respectively.

The results of the annual poll come at a critical time for conservatives who are leery of the movement’s definition and what the future may hold. In the past, social issues could be disregarded, ignored and placed second, but today their role cannot be ignored. For now, traditional values shape many debates on health care, education and the environment. Using this momentum, the conservative movement has tremendous opportunity to shape and package “traditional values” by connecting social responsibility with solution-oriented policy.

According to Gallup, the shift in attitudes comes primarily from the political middle. As self-identified moderates begin to favor government involvement in promoting traditional morals; liberal and conservative positions have remained predictable.

The reason for the shift in ideology may be debatable but the 11-point margin that favors traditional values should not be overlooked. What do you think: Should the conservative movement champion its social policy roots or move away from them?

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