WASHINGTON — ARE Republicans talking about the wrong issues in attempting to move voters? Family values has been a strong theme in the speeches of the Bush-Quayle campaign, but polls from before and after the Houston convention indicate that voters overwhelmingly want to hear about the economy.
"I think most of our attention is on the economy and on economic policy," said Charles Black, senior adviser to the campaign, at a Monitor breakfast.
But he added: "Remember the so-called Reagan Democrats [the conservative Democrats who became a key element in Reagan's constituency]? They came as much on social issues as on economic issues.
"There is no doubt that there are many voters who care about issues such as prayer in schools, school choice, [and] right to life in the sense that you're going to have teenagers having abortions without notifying their parents, welfare reform that encourages families to stay together as opposed to discouraging the family unit. Those are legitimate issues on which there are differences between the tickets, and a lot of people do care about them."
A key group Republicans need in their camp, Mr. Black said, are Roman Catholics in the industrial Midwest and Northeast. They are "moveable" on the issues of abortion, which many oppose, and school choice, which could allow public funding for parochial school tuitions, Black said.