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Pew Research Poll: Social issues rank lowest among voter priorities

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WASHINGTON — As voters continue to focus on the economy and jobs as top issues, President Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, has narrowed from a 12 points last month to a slim 49 percent to 45 percent advantage.

While neither candidate has a clear advantage on the economy or jobs issues, which more than eight-in-ten voters cited as “very important” to their choice, several hot-button social issues, such as gay marriage and birth control, are at the bottom of the electorate’s agenda.

More than eight-in-ten voters say the economy (86 percent) and jobs (84 percent) are very important issues in deciding who to vote for this fall, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center.

Roughly three-quarters ofalso cite the federal budget deficit (74 percent), health care (74 percent) and education (72 percent) as top voting priorities. Near the bottom of the list are some of the hot-button social issues. Just 28% say that gay marriage is a very important issue, and 34% rate birth control as a top issue.

The survey, conducted April 4-15, of 3,008 adults, including 2,373 registered voters, shows that Obama continues to owe his lead to support from women, college graduates, African Americans, Latinos and lower income voters – all of whom support him over Romney by double-digits.

The gender gap remains comparable to those in previous surveys during the current campaign, as well as past election cycles; women favor Obama by a 53 percent to 40 percent margin; among men voters, 50 percent favor Romney, while 44 percent back Obama. Obama has lost ground among both men and women at about the same rate over the past month.

With nearly all voters concerned about the economy, neither candidate has a clear advantage on the issue. Those who say the economy and jobs will be very important to their vote divide their support almost evenly between Obama and Romney.

While birth control is one of the lowest ranking issues, Obama holds a substantial 56 percent to 37 percent lead among voters who rate this as very important. Birth control is significantly more important to women (40% very important) than men (27%), but the gender gap is no greater than over issues like education and health care, which women also rate as more important voting concerns.

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11 more reader comments:

  1. If they didn’t vote for the robber barrons cocksuckers then they wouldn’t have economic issues to deal with.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:16pm
  2. Yeah, voters don’t care if they decide to criminilize homosexuality, take away our children, kick us out of our jobs, throw us in prisons and then kill us all. OOPS! “We didn’t mean for that to happen…” Oh well…

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:19pm
  3. Of course they don’t find social issues important. Straight men don’t give a sh*t about gays or women.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:19pm
  4. they needed 2 do a poll on that?

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:20pm
  5. I say that poll is bullshit. What an incredibly small sample of people compared to all the people in our nation. If they are going to poll, they need to poll every single registered voter in America simple as that. Otherwise I’d question said poll’s accuracy.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:23pm
  6. yea a lott of stuff on there is kinda more important then gay marriage, gay marriage is kinda minor in comparison to terrorism. although gay marriage would help the economy specially with hoe many people would probably be registering at first.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:29pm
  7. wow, people are stupid,

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:35pm
  8. Funny, how transgender is left out YET AGAIN…

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:35pm
  9. It’s because social issues are not their priority – not now and never has been.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:52pm
  10. Thanks for that Jason. Really makes me feel like my support is appreciated.

    Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:28pm
  11. No surprise. However, this is a double-edged sword: while it is a signal to anti-gay parties that perhaps concentrating on gay marriage will not necessarily win them votes; for pro-gay parties it sends the same signal.

    Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:06am