Contrary to the prevailing stereotype, evangelicals and Catholics aren’t single-issue voters. They care about jobs, taxes and the deficit, and their support for Israel rivals that of the Jewish community. They played an indispensable role in re-electing the Republican House majority, and in electing 30 Republican governors and hundreds of state legislators and local officeholders in recent years. Jettisoning these voters and their issues would be like a football coach responding to a big loss by cutting the team’s leading rusher.
To be sure, the Republicans need to build bridges to Hispanics and minorities, women and younger voters. But unlike the conventional wisdom, social issues properly framed are one of the keys to a stronger, more diverse Republican coalition.
According to Gallup, a majority of Americans now consider themselves pro-life, including one-third of Democrats. Younger voters are one of the most pro-life segments of the electorate, with 51% of college-age “millennials” stating that having an abortion is morally wrong. A 2012 survey of voters 30 years or younger by Naral Pro-Choice America found that pro-life voters were twice as likely as their pro-choice peers to say abortion is an important issue in determining their vote.
Despite the Obama campaign’s accusation of a Republican “war on women,” Mr. Obama actually won women by a narrower margin than he did in 2008; he lost married women by seven points. Nor did single women—who went heavily Mr. Obama’s way—vote on reproductive issues. Forty-five percent of single women voters listed jobs and the economy as their most important issues, while only 8% said abortion.