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  • « Indecision 2006 | Main | The real vote on marriage »

    November 09, 2006

    The verdict on 'values voters'

    Posted by: Chris


    It was a rough Election Day for so-called "values voters." Their party of choice was thrown out of power in both houses of Congress in what all the exit polls indicate was a strong repudiation of their president. Their most vocal supporter in the Senate, Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum, was trounced by almost 20 points.

    For the first time, voters rejected a statewide gay marriage ban, and in the red state of Arizona, at that. In two other red states, South Dakota (52-48%) and Virginia (57-43%), the vote was much closer than the 70-30 lopsided margin of years past. In South Dakota, voters roundly rejected an abortion ban. A majority of Virginia voters said in an exit poll that they support either marriage or its near-equivalent, civil unions, for gay couples.

    Voters in Colorado only narrowly (56-44%) passed a marriage ban and even more narrowly (47-53%) rejected a broad domestic partnership referendum. Only in South Carolina, Idaho and Tennessee, where the marriage ban measures weren't seriously contested, did they pass by the margin they have in the past.

    Still, the Christianist conservatives are in denial. Stanley Kurtz proves denial is a river running through the National Review Online:

    So voters everywhere still see marriage as the union of a man and a woman. They are more closely divided on the matter of civil unions and domestic partnerships, yet lean against these as well.

    Actually, the exit poll in Virginia and others nationally show a clear majority back marriage or civil unions for gay couples.

    Despite all the evidence, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council claimed the Republican repudiation was still a mandate from values voters, though he had to morph them into the "integrity voters":

    The message is that values are not just something you talk about at election time; values should guide public policies and personal conduct. This should be a clear message to both parties that values voters vote values, not party. Their focus is not on party politics, but rather on government guided by core values.

    As a "Fox in Socks" rhyme, Perkins is quite lyrical. As a post-election analysis, Perkins' take has the weight of a "Fox in Socks" rhyme. The GOP pushed their "values" issues in Congress, including a federal marriage amendment, and it only compounded their basic problem. The corruption issue did, in fact, hurt the Republicans, but the wound was made deeper by the hypocrisy it laid bare in their leadership.

    The Republicans lost Congress despite a strong economy because voters were angry about Iraq and the direction the GOP was taking the country, stubbornly focused on divisive social issues instead of the issues that mattered to the voters.



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