Hot button ballot issues back in election
Posted on March 30, 2008
Filed Under Uncategorized
When Americans cast ballots on November 4 to elect a president, some states also will ask voters hot-button questions like whether or not to ban gay marriage.
Such “ballot initiatives” — proposed amendments to state constitutions or legislation — have become a staple of U.S. elections and have played a role in recent presidential races.
Two that have qualified for November’s ballot stand out: one to ban gay marriage in the presidential battleground state of Florida — where votes for Republican and Democratic candidates have been closely split in recent elections — and another in Colorado to roll back affirmative-action policies aimed at helping minorities overcome discrimination.
Initiatives to ban gay marriage played a role in President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election as they propelled the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base to the polls.
They may not have the same impact this time, as Republican John McCain is viewed by many religious conservatives as soft on core issues like gay marriage and stem cell research.
“I have a hard time envisioning social conservatives who want to ban gay marriage in Florida getting excited about John McCain at the polls,” said Daniel Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
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