Ed Morrissey has this to say: Bollocks. The data shows that moderates moved to Barack Obama, which comes as no surprise after eight years of Republican control of the White House. Unless Whitman shows that Bush’s position on embryonic stem-cell research was the leading issue on voters’ minds, her extrapolation that the shift in moderates came from a sudden allergy to social conservatism is the worst kind of statistical manipulation. It’s correlation without causation.
My feeling on this is yes and no. Well, maybe. I think in most of the hot button social conservative issues, stem cell, abortion, gay marriage, et al are fine and dandy when all things are equal, but when the going gets tough most Americans probably prefer to focus on making sure the foundation is safe before moving in the furniture and I think this economic crises appeared to be a case of the foundation cracking. We suddenly had a lot of people looking at retirement accounts that were vanishing and talking heads screaming about a second great depression. In that environment I think the social issues took a back seat. The problem was that we had a candidate who couldn't articulate a plan or much of anything else to deal with the economy and the party fell back on hoping that Palin would bring in the socials, which she did. The trouble was, most Americans wanted the candidate who at least didn't look befuddled when it came to the economy - or at least had answers - ANY answers. McCain consistently lacked those. To be honest, I think Iraq won W. the last election. In spite of how bad things might have been there and how many people were dissatisfied with it, I just don't think the country could stomach turning a raging war over to Kerry.