As potential Republican presidential candidates try to grapple with the social issues rising in some of the early primary states and balance those concerns with the GOP’s purported focus on the economy, a new WSJ/NBC News Poll out today finds that GOP primary voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who says “the party should focus MORE on issues such as the economy and federal budget deficit and focus LESS on social issues as as gay marriage and abortion”:
Social conservative activists hope to keep culture issues like abortion and same sex marriage at the forefront of the GOP agenda and plan to extract commitments of support from Republican presidential contenders in the early primary states where these causes are already advancing.
In New Hampshire, where Republicans are already leading an effort to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law, Hampshire Cornerstone — the anti-gay group spearheading the campaign — “will ask each Republican presidential candidate to sign a pledge agreeing marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
“Why not try to leverage the influence of the candidates to get them to declare their support for traditional marriage?” Smith told Roll Call earlier this week. “If you have a candidate saying they’re not willing to oppose same-sex marriage, I think they’ll have a problem. … We have a wide membership list. We’ll certainly let them know.”
In Iowa, Bob Vander Plaats of Family Leader is hosting his own presidential forum with Republican candidates and hopes to play kingmaker in that state’s caucus. Vander Plaats recently led a successful effort to recall three Iowa judges who overturned the state’s Defense of Marriage Act and is now lobbying lawmakers to approve a measure that would allow Iowans to vote on a referendum recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman.