|John White , professor, politics, was quoted in a Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.) article about the importance of values in this year's congressional elections. The quote was taken from comments he made in October 2005 in "A Presidency on Life Support" in Polling Report. See his comments in the story below.|
From: Star Tribune Date: Oct. 5, 2006 Author: Sharon Schmickle Let's say your phone rings and a pollster is on the line asking what's going to influence your vote in this year's congressional races. If you're like most other voters, one of your top categories will have something to do with values.
Polls show American voters are deeply worried about the nation's values as reflected in a host of social problems and issues.
In a Fox News poll in September, concern over a decline in moral values ranked as high as worries about gas prices, terrorist attacks, the economy and illegal immigration. And the worries were bipartisan, with Democrats nearly as likely as Republicans to say they were extremely concerned about declining values. The concern translates into challenges for candidates. One is to turn out like-minded voters motivated by straightforward "values" issues such as same-sex marriage and stem cell research. Another is to pass a values gut check -- to project priorities and personal traits that win voters' trust.
"Making the values connection is an essential prerequisite to getting a hearing on more tangible ... issues," John Kenneth White, a political scientist at Catholic University of America, said in Polling Report.
Thus, Democrats have struggled to impress suburban and rural voters with their Clinton-era record of balancing budgets because they've been seen as hostile to conservative cultural values. Republicans have strained to win urban voters' trust in their tough-love intentions toward welfare and other issues because they've been seen as favoring the privileged.
Value judgments have dramatically reshaped political alignments in recent decades, and the process is far from finished, White said in his book "Values Divide: American Politics and Culture in Transition."