Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2012 / 13:05 pm
In an election year that continues to be dominated by economic concerns, one public policy analyst believes that social issues could still play an important role in November.
“The race became much more tightly competitive” after the first presidential debate, said Dr. Mark J. Rozell, professor of public policy at George Mason University.
He explained to CNA on Oct. 17 that a close race could mean that social issues such as abortion and the federal contraception mandate might end up being more influential in the presidential election than they otherwise would.
On Oct. 16, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney met at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. for the second of three presidential debates in the 2012 campaign.
The town hall format yielded heated exchanges between the candidates on topics ranging from gun control to the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
As in the first debate, the economy and jobs were key issues of discussion. Moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion were largely absent, with the candidates just briefly discussing the contraception mandate that has alarmed religious freedom advocates and drawn lawsuits from more than 100 plaintiffs of various religious backgrounds.
High levels of unemployment and a struggling economy have consistently played a large role in what has become a tight presidential race.
“On the whole, Catholics are concerned about jobs and the economy right now, just like other Americans,” Rozell said.