Excerpt: Put aside that pollsters of various ideological stripes subsequently decided that the exit-poll question was flawed. In 2004, so many on all sides just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future.
But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. The crash of the economy has concentrated the minds of Americans on other things. Moral conflict just isn’t what it used to be.
We know this thanks to an extremely useful exercise by the Pew Research Center that has not received enough attention. In a survey released in late May, Pew offered respondents the list of issues that appeared on the 2004 exit poll and asked them which one would matter most if they had to vote for president now.
The proportion responding with “moral values” fell by more than half—from 22 percent in the exit poll (and 27 percent in Pew’s own post-2004 election survey) to a mere 10 percent. Concern over the economy and jobs more than doubled, from 20 percent in the 2004 exit poll to 50 percent in the new survey. The other issues that gained substantial ground were health care and education