At the start of this year’s election season, only 22% of U.S. adults said that gay marriage will be important to their vote in the coming elections – a substantial decline from the 32% who expressed that view in October 2004; sharp declines were also recorded in the proportion of voters citing other social issues -abortion and stem cell research – as very important. Only about a quarter of Republicans (27%) and roughly one-in-five Democrats (19%) and independents (17%) said gay marriage will be very important in their vote; in all three groups the proportions rating gay marriage a major voting issue have declined substantially. In contrast, the economy, health care, Iraq and education continued to rate as top issues for voters while the number concerned about energy rose sharply with 65% of voters saying energy will be very important to their vote, up from 54% in October 2004. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.